Why are we turning to alternatives?
More often than not, it is for the treatment of chronic pain. Modern medicine has extended the average life expectancy but has failed to cure many painful conditions, such as arthritis. We are living longer with pain.
In one study, one third to one half of the people with arthritis surveyed admitted to using some type of alternative therapy.
Does it work?
It depends on whom you ask. Ask someone diagnosed with OA whose treatment of glucosamine and chondroitin sulfate was successful and you will hear a resounding “Yes!” Ask a rheumatoid arthritis patient whose experiment with magnet therapy was an expensive failure and you’ll likely be told it is a scam. The truth is probably somewhere in the middle. No one alternative treatment will work for everyone, just as no medication works on all people.
Explore alternatives with an open but cautious mind and you should do just fine. Before You Pay for That First Visit You’ve decided to explore that alternative track, to try and find a solution to your pain. That’s great! But please do it wisely. Following a few simple rules can save you time, money and maybe even your health. Talk to your doctor.
Many people hold out, refusing to tell their physicians of the alternative activities. Not a wise thing to do. Anything you ingest, “natural” or not, can interact with anything else you may be taking. Please let your doctor know about ALL your treatments. You may even be surprised to find out your doctor agrees that your choice may be effective for you; he may even refer you to a reputable practitioner. Find out what organization certifies the practitioners in the field you wish to explore. Often they can recommend a certified practitioner in your area. If you find a practitioner on your own, make sure he is certified by the organization.
Check out the cost.
Many alternatives are not cheap and most are not yet covered by national insurance. Make sure you will be able to afford the program you choose. If it takes 4 treatment sessions to treat your condition and you can only afford two, then it isn’t going to be worth your while. Don’t be fooled by the word “natural.” Natural does not always mean safe. Poison ivy for example is quite natural, but it certainly isn’t safe for many people. Many of the powerful prescription drugs are “natural” derivatives of plants, and they can be quite dangerous if used incorrectly.
Keep a journal.
Keeping track of many different treatments can be confusing. Using a journal to record treatments and effects makes it much easier to sort out what works and what doesn’t. Try only one form of new treatment at a time, alternative or otherwise. If you add three things at once, how can you know which one is working for you? Good luck to you on your alternative journey, and remember, do it wisely.