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Pain Management: CAM and Measures of Pain


The patient would likely benefit from practices in the CAM domain of manipulative and body-based practices, commonly aimed at those with chronic pain. This domain includes CAM treatments such as chiropractic manipulations, massage, acupuncture, acupressure, and reflexology. Chiropractic manipulation would benefit the patient as it performs spinal and joint adjustments which positively influence the body’s nervous system. Massage therapies have a wide range of proven and claimed benefits, primarily stimulating blood flow to affected areas and inducing relaxation (Woodbury, Soong, Fishman, & García, 2015). The patient will likely benefit from the mind-body domain of CAM which includes a range of therapies ranging from cognitive psychotherapy to meditation and hypnosis, and even the use of distraction techniques such as music or art. Inherently, all of these may be helpful in distressful situations, but the case study presents a traumatic event and chronic pain. Therapies such as meditation and hypnosis can allow the patient to manage the increasing pain (due to lack of opiate analgesics) on a mental health level (Lambing, Witkop, & Humphries, 2019).

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Measures of Pain

Physical assessments consist of physically examining the patient and seeking to anatomically determine the cause of pain. The advantage of this as it allows to collect data such as vital signs and use various tests that may help to determine the cause of pain. The biggest disadvantage is that there may be an overreliance on physical examination for pain identification and treatment, while tests and data are important, they cannot always identify the source of the pain. Behavioral assessments seek to examine the frequency or duration of behavior around pain as to determine factors which may explain the behavior or b the cause of pain. The benefits of this as it is observing behavior can determine the origins of pain when physical observations and the patient themselves are unable to. The disadvantage is that in some instances, pain may not necessarily manifest in behavior or the individual may mask the true level of pain or where they feel it. Self-assessments utilize various tools and scales for a patient to identify and relay their origins or levels of pain. The benefit to this is that it is a primary source of information, and with pain being a subjective experience, the feedback from the patient feeling the pain is critical. The downside is that self-reporting may be biased due to perception and pain thresholds, making it a difficult aspect to generalize for everyone (Powell, Downing, Ddungu, & Mwangi-Powell, n.d.).


Lambing, A., Witkop, M., & Humphries, T. J. (2019). Complementary and alternative therapy (CAM) in haemophilia pain management: A review of published literature. The Journal of Haemophilia Practice, 6(1), 7–18. Web.

Powell, R. A., Downing, J., Ddungu, H., & Mwangi-Powell, F. N. (n.d.). Pain history and pain assessment. Web.

Woodbury, A., Soong, S. N., Fishman, D., & García, P. S. (2015). Complementary and alternative medicine therapies for the anesthesiologist and pain practitioner: A narrative review. Canadian Journal of Anesthesia. 63(1), 69–85.

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