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The Naked Truth About Women and Pain: Finding the Right Treatment

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Alternative Treatments


  • Helps: Lower-back pain, chronic headaches, arthritis and cancer pain. Acupuncture signals the brain to release soothing chemicals such as serotonin and endorphins. Chronic headache sufferers who received acupuncture had a 34 percent reduction in pain compared with a 16 percent drop among those who got standard care, according to a 2004 study from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center in New York City.

Electroacupuncture (EA)

  • Helps: Chronic headaches. A combination of electrical stimulation and acupuncture, this technique works in the same way acupuncture does. In a study done in Australia, researchers discovered that patients who received electroacupuncture reported fewer tension-type headaches than those in the control group.

Percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (PENS)

  • Helps: Neurological pain caused by diabetes. PENS is similar to electroacupuncture, but in this procedure, the practitioner places the needles in a different pattern. In a study at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, patients who were treated with PENS were able to cut their use of pain medication by almost half.

Guided imagery

  • Helps: Fibromyalgia, tension headaches, and cancer pain. Patients use visualization to control their pain. For instance, those with back pain might see their discomfort as a boulder weighing down on them. They would then imagine it turning into a feather and floating away.


  • Helps: A wide variety of conditions, including migraines, arthritis, and fibromyalgia. By using special devices designed to pick up electrical signals in the muscles and to flash or beep when they tighten, pain sufferers learn to reduce muscle tension, one of the things that fuels their discomfort.


  • Helps: Lower-back pain and carpal tunnel syndrome. The stretching and held poses in yoga may release feel-good chemicals that reduce stress.


  • Helps: Lower-back pain. This hands-on therapy often helps relieve the muscle tension causing chronic pain and releases neurochemicals that make patients feel better. A study at the University of Miami School of Medicine found that massage not only significantly reduced back pain but also eased depression and anxiety and boosted flexibility.

Which Doctor Do You Need?

Want to find the right kind of doctor for your pain?



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