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What does "alternative therapy" mean?

No one wants to be injured on the job. But workplace injuries do happen. There are many ways to get hurt and work, and there are many paths to healing. 

When we get hurt the thing we want most is to get back our health. This may mean getting back to doing the things we did before the accident. For most of us it means being able to be fully present in our lives- to interact with our spouse and kids. 

What is alternative therapy?

We live in a time when we are realizing one size does not fit all when it comes to what helps with the pain and the depression that often accompanies a serious injury.

In addition to conventional therapies (such as occupational, physical, psychological and prescribed medicine) many people find relief from complementary and alternative therapies.

Alternative therapies can work to distract us from our pain. They can also be helpful in controlling both pain and anxiety. Alternative therapy can include: 

  • Aromatherapy- Using smells to stimulate areas of the brain 
  • Acupuncture- A form of traditional Chinese medicine that uses very thin needles to stimulate meridians or specific nerve points in the body
  • Herbal medicine- The use of whole plants to improve a person's Qi- energy and well being. Herbal medicine can interfere with traditional medicine so always get the advise of your primary care doctor before using herbal medicine. 
  • Massage therapy- Not a "massage parlor" massage, but often deep tissue manipulation that can increase circulation, release tension and improve range of motion. Massage therapy is now offered in many large hospitals and may be covered by your insurance plan. 
  • Visualization- More of a "mind over matter" approach to managing pain, visualization can help you perform tasks. Thinking very specifically about doing something- such as walking after a sever leg injury, "conditions your neural pathways so that the action feels familiar when you go to perform it."  Visualization has been a proven methods for athletes, and golfers such as Tiger Woods and  Jack Nicklaus, to improve their performance. 
  • Yoga- These days you can find a yoga practice for any level of mobility- there is even chair yoga for people in wheelchairs or who have balance or standing issues. 

A serious injury can feel like a dead-end street. Broadening your idea of what might work and what might help can lead to some surprising and positive new experiences. Who knows, you may find an alternative therapy that works for you. 

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