In continuing our series of posts about nonsurgical treatments for back pain, today we cover homeopathic medicine and humor therapy.
Homeopathic medicine uses highly diluted preparations of natural substances, typically plants and minerals, to treat symptoms of illness. Practitioners believe that if a large dose of a substance causes the patient to develop certain symptoms when he or she is healthy, a small dose of the same substance can treat illnesses that produce the same symptoms.
Chronic and occasional conditions such as arthritis, asthma, allergies, colds and influenza are the main reasons people use homeopathic medicine. But, some homeopaths believe their remedies can cure all illnesses. Scientific research is unable to explain how homeopathic medicines work. Because most homeopathic medicines are so diluted, many scientists are skeptical of their effectiveness.
Traditional medical training is not required to practice homeopathy. But, some homeopaths are physicians, or other types of licensed health professionals, such as chiropractors, nurses, or pharmacists. Regulation and licensure of homeopathic practitioners vary by state.
The basis of humor therapy is the belief that regular periods of laughter help distract a patient’s attention from his or her pain. Laughter is also a kind of anesthetic because it promotes the release of chemicals that block pain messages, thus reducing pain.
Humor therapy involves spending a few minutes each day laughing. This can be accomplished by watching a funny movie, calling a friend who makes you laugh, joking with neighbors or coworkers, or visiting a comedy club. Humor therapy may also help increase muscle flexibility and lower blood pressure.
Source: Prairie Spine and Pain Institute, Dr. Richard A. Kube II, MD.