Chronic pain is notoriously difficult to treat, and like many complex disorders is best handled by a team of health care practitioners. Chronic (long lasting) pain is associated with a shorter life span, as well as co-morbidity with heart and respiratory disease. People with chronic pain tend to have higher rates of depression, anxiety, and insomnia.
In Western medicine, the first line of defense is opioid pain killers, which often come with side effects, and can cause other health problems. Psychological treatments like cognitive behavioral therapy have been shown to be helpful. With alternative therapies such as neurofeedback, acupuncture, or yoga, pain can be managed without side effects, decreasing the need for medication, decreasing co-morbidity with other illnesses, and improving the patient’s overall quality of life.