A new study has said that non-traditional therapies can be effective in relieving pain among hospitalized patients with different types of problems.
Gregory Plotnikoff, one of the study's authors and medical director of the Penny George Institute for Health and Healing at Abbott Northwestern Hospital insists, an inpatient integrative medicine program can have a significant impact in pain relief, while traditional medications can have negative consequences.
He said: "Roughly 80 percent of patients report moderate to severe pain levels after surgery.
"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, orthopedics, spine, rehabilitation, oncology, and women's health patients at Abbott Northwestern between January 1, 2008, and June 30, 2009. They scored their pain verbally on a zero-to-ten scale before and after treatments.
The treatments included non-pharmaceutical services: mind body therapies to elicit the relaxation response, acupuncture, acupressure, massage therapy, healing touch, music therapy, aromatherapy, and reflexology.
Jeffery A. Dusek, Ph.D., research director for the George Institute said: "Earlier studies narrowly focused on whether specific integrative therapies manage pain in either cancer or surgical patients.
"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."
Also, Lori Knutson, executive director of the George Institute, added: 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."
Inpatient integrative services provided to patients are based on physician and nursing referrals, which is provided at no additional cost to the patient.
The study, 'The Impact of Integrative Medicine on Pain Management in a Tertiary Care Hospital' has been published in the Journal of Patient Safety.