Updated 11/03/2012 05:00 AM
Healthy Living: Alternative therapies
Even though alternative therapies have been met with skepticism in the past, health care professionals say when they're combined with conventional medicine, they can speed up and enhance a patient's healing process. Katie Gibas reports.
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Lisa Patchen has been running for years. She's even done two marathons. There's no question the sport takes a toll on her body.
"My feet, my Achilles, my calves, my hamstrings, my hips a little bit. I've always actually seen a chiropractor. With the running, it made more sense. The chiropractic work really helped with everything," said Lisa Patchen, a chiropractic patient.
Alternative therapies, like chiropractic, acupuncture and massage are gaining popularity among patients to treat a variety of ailments, including pain, nausea and addictions.
"Ten years ago, if you looked in the yellow pages here under acupuncture, you'd see six names, now there are dozens," said Scott Treatman, DO, MPH, Crouse Hospital Employee Health Director.
Even though some of these alternative and complementary therapies have been met with skepticism in the past, health care professionals say when they're combined with conventional medicine, they can speed up and enhance a patient's healing process.
"Acupuncture has great data in terms of nausea associated with chemotherapy and radiation therapy, great benefits of pain relief in dental procedures. It definitely does well with things like arthritis, headaches. Chiropractic care also can do a lot of benefit for people especially with early on in back pain, headaches, etc.," said Dr. Kaushal Nanavati, MD, Upstate University Hospital Family Physician.
Treatman added, "Acupuncture isn't going to change herniated disks or bone spurs or anything like that but it provides pain relief. If somebody has back pain for two years, you're not going to make them better in two treatments, but if someone just strained their back or their neck or their shoulder, usually two or three treatments will be helpful."
So how does it work?
"The brain can't really pay attention to motion and pain at the same time, so you get this residual effect of pain relief because you've sent the brain a different message," said Mark VanAlstyne, DC, PT, Chiropractor, Physical Therapist, Strength Coach.
Acupuncture, chiropractic and massage release chemicals that react with the brain's pleasure centers to help block pain. For Lisa Patchen, that means feeling better, racing better, and keeping up with her active family.