Current Pain and Headache Reports

, Volume 15, Issue 1, pp 39–46 | Cite as

Complementary and Alternative Medicine for Pain: An Evidence-based Review

  • Nadya M. Dhanani
  • Thomas J. Caruso
  • Adam J. Carinci


Pain is one of the most prevalent conditions for which patients seek medical attention. Additionally, the number of patients who utilize complementary and alternative medicine as a treatment of pain either in lieu of, or concurrent with, standard conventional treatments continues to grow. While research into the mechanisms, side effect profiles, and efficacies of these alternative therapies has increased in recent years, much more remains unknown and untested. Herein, we review the literature on complementary and alternative medicine for pain, with particular emphasis on evidence-based assessments pertinent to the most common alternative therapies, including acupuncture, herbal therapy, massage therapy, hypnosis, tai chi, and biofeedback.


Complementary medicine Alternative medicine Holistic Mind–Body Pain Pain treatment Acupuncture Herbal therapy Hypnosis Tai chi Massage therapy Biofeedback Evidence 



No potential conflicts of interest relevant to this article were reported.


Papers of particular interest, published recently, have been highlighted as: • Of importance •• Of major importance

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  • Nadya M. Dhanani
    • 1
  • Thomas J. Caruso
    • 1
  • Adam J. Carinci
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anesthesia, Critical Care and Pain MedicineMassachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical SchoolBostonUSA

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