One in five Americans suffers from chronic pain – even if they’re actually receiving medications for it. But a new study suggests that cognitive behavior therapy, exercise, or a combination of both, may help patients feel better overall, while cutting back on the side effects of traditional pain medications.
Over a six month period, researchers called patients and gave them mental tools to help change their behavior and attitudes toward pain. Patients in the exercise program worked with a fitness trainer for 20-60 minutes twice a week.
On tests of fibromyalgia patients (who can have pain throughout their bodies), 25% of the phone patients, and one third of the exercise patients reported feeling better after six months. Patients who received a combination of both did even better.
Traditional pain treatment with opioids has significant side effects, and long-term use probably isn’t very effective. So alternatives are desperately needed, and this research may pave the way to better treatments.
If you or your loved ones have pain management issues, be sure to discuss them with your physician. Home care providers can help with medication reminders, and can also accompany clients on walks or other forms of prescribed light exercise. You can read more about this study here.