Complementary and alternative medicine approaches to pain management

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Journal: Journal of Clinical Psychology. Special Issue: Chronic Pain. Volume 62, Issue 11 (November 2006) pp 1419-1431. Published online 25 Aug 2006. Authors and affiliation: Gabriel Tan, Julie A. Alvarez, Mark P. Jensen. Michael E. DeBakey Veterans Affairs Medical Center, and Baylor College of Medicine, Houston, Texas; University of Washington School of Medicine, Seattle [E-mail: TAN.GABRIEL@med.va.gov ] DOI: 10.1002/jclp.20321

This article argues for and illustrates incorporating complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) interventions into pain treatment plans. Two CAM treatments, cranial electrotherapy stimulation (CES) and self-hypnosis training, are offered in a multidisciplinary pain treatment program. Because these interventions focus on pain relief, they may be of particular interest to patients who have chronic pain who begin treatment with a primary interest in pain reduction.

Two cases that illustrate the clinical application of CES and self-hypnosis are presented. When effective, these interventions can help patients have greater confidence in treatments offered by psychologists for pain management and may help make them more open to participating in other psychological interventions that have established efficacy for pain management (e.g., cognitive-behavioral therapy). Because of their brevity, these treatments also can be offered alone to patients who may not have the resources or time to participate in more time-intensive treatment. 1419-1431, 2006.

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