Carpal tunnel syndrome. Low back pain. Shoulder pain. These are just a few of the common, pain-related complaints in all areas of health care. Sometimes, no matter what you try, you can’t find relief with a conservative treatment approach. In this article, I list a few lesser known approaches to ways to manage chronic ailments in the hopes that you can find the necessary tools to work and live free of physical discomfort.

1. Active Release Techniques (ART)

Over 30 years ago, chiropractor Dr. P. Michael Leahy, began ART as a way to correct soft tissue disorders in elite athletes. Before becoming a chiropractor, Leahy was an engineer in the air force. He combined his particular background to develop a therapeutic system of movements to correct musculoskeletal problems associated with the overuse of muscles—problems like back pain, neck pain, and sciatica—which are so prevalent in the nursing community.

According to the website, it’s a “patented, state of the art soft tissue system/movement based massage technique that treats problems with muscles, tendons, ligaments, fascia, and nerves. Headaches, back pain, carpal tunnel syndrome, shin splints, shoulder pain, sciatica, plantar fasciitis, knee problems, and tennis elbow are just a few of the many conditions that can be resolved quickly and permanently with ART.”

If persistent pain is affecting your job and your life, ART may be an innovative option to bring your body into balance. Practitioners are located throughout the world and consist of licensed health care providers or massage therapists. To find a practitioner in your area, click here.

2. Anatomy Trains

Created in the 1990’s by author and bodyworker Thomas Myers, Anatomy Trains treats the interconnectedness of the fascial and myofascial tissues throughout the whole body. This holistic approach allows practitioners to understand the relationship between postural stability, coordination, and muscle restrictions and their impact on a person’s movement.

“We look for those places or patterns that have imposed limitations on the person’s movement and work to lift them off. How can we ‘lighten the load’ people impose on themselves? What is revealed is not some robotic ‘perfect posture’ but a return to the person’s original intent, less hobbled by the slings and arrows they have encountered,” says Myers on the website.

If you experience pain every time you do a certain movement, such as leaning over a bed to position a patient from one side to the other, then you might benefit from a practitioner certified in Anatomy Trains to break your current movement patterns and assist your body with creating new ones. Practitioners include health care providers, massage therapists, and mind-body exercise instructors (like Pilates, yoga, and Tai Chi). To locate a practitioner, click here.

3. Feldenkrais Method

The Feldenkrais Method was created by Moshe Feldenkrais, an Israeli physicist and engineer, after an old knee injury flared up. Doctors told him he needed surgery for the injury, but instead, he chose to analyze his movement patterns, and he learned to walk pain-free. This method employs physics, biomechanics, and observation to help a person move with less tension and greater ease. Feldenkrais taught his first training course in 1969.

As stated on the website, “The Feldenkrais Method of somatic education uses gentle movement and directed attention to help people learn new and more effective ways of living the life they want. You can increase your ease and range of motion, improve your flexibility and coordination, and rediscover your innate capacity for graceful, efficient movement.”

Who may be a good candidate for this therapy? Anyone who’s seeking pain relief or battling conditions of the central nervous system. While practitioners come from a wide range of backgrounds, they all must complete 160 days of training over a minimum of 3 years, to obtain eligibility to become certified by the Feldenkrais Guild of North America. To find a Feldenkrais practitioner in your area, click here.

Please note: When one of these therapies is administered by a licensed health care provider, some insurances may cover the cost of these services.  

Jennifer Lelwica Buttaccio

Jenny Lelwica Buttaccio, OTR/L, is a Chicago-based, freelance lifestyle writer, licensed occupational therapist, and certified Pilates instructor. Her expertise is in health, wellness, fitness, and chronic illness management.

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