The Power of Spirituality and Alternative Medicine in Treating Chronic Pain

By Luke Smith

Chronic pain is, well, chronic. It can flare up in random bouts or perpetually plague an individual for days, weeks, months, even years at a time. This recurring struggle can often break down an individual’s willingness to care for their bodies through natural methods as they seek refuge in the plethora of pain medications that conventional western science offers.

This retreat from natural solutions into the embrace of modern science is completely understandable, and at times even necessary. However, often the only thing standing in the way of a person in pain and a natural cure is the knowledge required to address their situation in a holistic manner that considers their mind, body, and spirit together. 

Here are some of the key reasons why holistic health — that is, both alternative and traditional medicine along with the spirituality that comes with it — absolutely must be considered when developing a treatment plan for a chronic condition.

Alternative Medicine and Spirituality Focus on Quality of Life

Right from the get-go, it’s important to consider one of the key differences between a holistic approach that incorporates spirituality and alternative medicine and purely relying on western medical tradition. While modern pharmaceutical solutions focus on addressing a specific problem with a pinpoint solution, holistic health targets the overall quality of the life of the individual in pain.

A treatment plan developed around holistic medicine will strive to address both your physical wellbeing and your emotional state.

For instance, chronic pain typically lasts at least three months and often much, much longer, which means a long-term solution is required. Simply taking medication may minimize the actual pain for a time, but it won’t do much else. On top of that, its effectiveness may dwindle over time and you may even suffer from side effects in the process.

Holistic medicine, however, takes a more complete approach to the entire situation. It calls on natural solutions such as diet, exercise, psychological treatments, and natural, alternative remedies like CBD oil or Arnica to collectively increase the suffering individual’s quality of life. This has an umbrella effect that can boost the entire health of the individual, rather than simply addressing a single issue.

Alternative Medicine is a Heavy Hitter

Along with focusing on the overall quality of life, it’s important to remember that holistic medicine, and alternative medicine, in particular, has a long history of being an effective tool when used correctly. Alternative remedies are often excused as old wives’ tales and ancient treatments that can serve as an initial line of defense before the “heavy-hitting” pharmaceutical meds are called in to get the job done.

However, this line of reasoning often comes from little more than a misunderstanding of how alternative medicine works. It isn’t meant to radically alter your body or magically grow back a limb. Its goal is to restore, heal, and bring a return to the unity and health of body, mind, and soul. 

The realization that alternative medicine isn’t just legitimate but genuinely effective is a fact that continues to gain traction in an increasing manner within the medical field itself. 

For instance, in an article by Bradley University regarding the challenges of diagnosing fibromyalgia, the author directly recommends using nonpharmacological therapies such as yoga, physical therapy, and even simple exercise to address the chronic pain associated with the disease. This complimentary medicine approach (that is, a solution that incorporates both alternative and modern medicine) is becoming increasingly common in medical circles.

Alternative Medicine is Affordable … and Spirituality is Free

Finally, one of the simplest ways that the powerful effect of alternative medicine and spirituality can be seen is through their accessibility, especially when compared to the cost and availability of western medicine. 

Poverty is a chronic cycle that often leads to inaccessibility to proper healthcare. Fortunately, alternative medicines are often extremely affordable, especially when compared to pharmaceuticals. In addition, holistic activities like exercise — not to mention spiritual practices such as meditation and prayer — are completely free and easily accessible.

As healthcare costs perpetually rise over time, alternative remedies and spiritual practices remain viable options that are easily accessible and offer genuine healing and restoration to those struggling with pain over the long-term.

Holistic Medicine, A Real Solution

There will always be those who scoff at the simple home remedies of alternative medicine. Spiritual disciplines will also always have their detractors. However, anyone who is willing to lend their ear to the profoundly rational, natural, simple healing approach of the larger umbrella of holistic medicine can quickly find their chronic concerns minimized. 

As they heal, they’re given more than just a solution for their pain, too. They’re reoriented towards a positive, life-changing sense of thankfulness and appreciation for what they have, all of which improve their quality of life, often with a minimal or even nonexistent need for prescription medication.