In a study published in the Journal of Patient Safety, non-medical therapies were shown to relieve pain among a wide range of hospitalized patients as much as 50 percent. However, chiropractic was not among the approaches tested. Instead, researchers focused only on acupuncture, acupressure, massage therapy, healing touch, music therapy, aromatherapy, and reflexology.
The study showed that allowing patients to have access to drug-free care that reduces stress can have a significant impact on pain major challenge and eliminate the risk of negative side effects associated with the drugs normally given to patients.
“Roughly 80 percent of patients report moderate to severe pain levels after surgery,” said Gregory Plotnikoff, MD, one of the study’s authors and medical director of the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing at Abbott Northwestern Hospital.
“We struggle to provide effective pain control while trying to avoid the adverse effects of opioid medications, such as respiratory depression, nausea, constipation, dizziness, and falls.”
The study included 1,837 cardiovascular, medical, surgical, orthopedic, spine, rehabilitation, oncology, and women’s health patients between January 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009. They scored their pain verbally on a zero-to-ten scale before and after treatments.
“Earlier studies narrowly focused on whether specific integrative therapies manage pain in either cancer or surgical patients,” said Jeffery A. Dusek, PhD, research director for the George Institute. “Our real-world study broadly shows that these therapies effectively reduce pain by over 50 percent across numerous patient populations. Furthermore, they can be clinically implemented in real time, across, and under the operational and financial constraints within an acute care hospital.”
Lori Knutson, RN, BSN, HN-BC, executive director of the George Institute stated: “I think we will find that integrative approaches to pain management during the hospital stay will improve patient satisfaction and outcomes, and we will see cost savings from patients using fewer drugs and experiencing fewer adverse events.”
SOURCE: “The Impact of Integrative Medicine on Pain Management in a Tertiary Care Hospital,” March 5, 2010. Journal of Patient Safety.