Alternative Treatments for Postherpetic Neuralgia
Some complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments may help you deal with postherpetic neuralgia (PHN) symptoms. This article walks you through alternative treatments that may help you manage PHN; some people find that these treatments help them live well with PHN.
Of course, before trying any of these alternative treatments, be sure to have a conversation with your doctor. Because some alternative treatments don't work well with mainstream treatments for PHN (eg, medications), it's a good idea to make sure it's safe to try them.
In-depth Articles on Other Postherpetic Neuralgia Treatments
Acupuncture: Acupuncture—an ancient Chinese technique—is rooted in the belief that when the energy force in your body (called Qi) is blocked, it can create pain. With this technique, an acupuncturist inserts fine needles into your skin to help promote the free flow of Qi.
In a 2007 study in the journal Pain Practice, researchers found that acupuncture may be an effective treatment for PHN symptoms and that it deserves further study.1
Acupuncture may also be performed using a cold (red) laser at certain acupuncture points. This acupuncture technique doesn't break the skin.
Biofeedback: This technique uses a machine that measures how your body reacts to stress; it can calculate stress markers, such as your heart rate and muscle tension. Biofeedback teaches you how to control your reaction to stress, which may help reduce PHN symptoms, such as pain.
A 2007 study in the Hawaii Medical Journal found that electronic biofeedback may help with managing PHN.2
Mind-body techniques: Stress-reducing techniques, such as yoga, deep breathing exercises, and meditation, not only get your mind off the pain, but they may also help control it. These therapies may also boost your mood and improve how well you sleep.
Because the pain and other symptoms of PHN can affect your physical and emotional well-being, it's helpful to have the right tools to maintain a healthy body and mind. With these mind-body techniques in hand, you'll be on the right track to making your PHN more manageable.
Which Alternative Treatments for PHN Should You Try?
Everyone responds differently to alternative treatments for PHN, so you may need to find the right blend of treatments that work well for you. And although researchers are still examining whether the complementary and alternative medicine treatments listed in this article are helpful for managing PHN, these alternative treatments can be a part of an overall healthy lifestyle.