Treatment option list

Here is a working list of treatment options for pain by category. We have ordered them from least invasive to most invasive. We encourage you to print out this list and bring it to your clinician to see which therapies they might recommend.

Self-management techniques

  • Activity restriction or modification
  • Assistive devices or technologies
  • Diet and nutrition
  • Exercise programs
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Sleep hygiene
  • Stress reduction techniques

Restorative therapies

  • Chiropractic care
  • Dry needling
  • Exercise programs
  • Floatation therapy
  • Heat and cold therapy
  • Kinesiology taping
  • Massage therapy
  • Occupational therapy
  • Osteopathic medicine
  • Physical therapy
  • Pool or aquatic therapy
  • Postural training
  • Traction

Complementary and integrative health options

  • Acupuncture
  • Acupressure
  • Aromatherapy
  • Art, music, dance, and equine therapy
  • Ayurvedic medicine
  • Craniosacral therapy
  • Cupping
  • Herbal and vitamin products
  • Hypnosis
  • Reflexology
  • Reiki
  • Traditional Chinese medicine

Mind-body and behavioral health approaches
A note about mind-body approaches: Addressing the psychosocial impact of pain does not mean your pain isn’t real. But stress exacerbates pain, and likewise, pain exacerbates stress. Interrupting this cycle is essential to improving your quality of life.

  • Acceptance and commitment therapy
  • Biofeedback or neurofeedback
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Counseling
  • Meditation and mindfulness
  • Psychiatric care
  • Spirituality
  • Stress reduction techniques
  • Support groups
  • Virtual reality programs

The medication categories below are associated with general pain relief; however, there are many other disease-specific medications that treat the underlying condition and therefore relieve pain (e.g. calcitonin gene-related peptide inhibitors for migraine, or immunosuppressive medications for autoimmune disorders). Some pain medications may work across multiple channels and categories of relief, or they may be formulated in combination with other medications to target multiple channels. Medications may be delivered in various ways; for example, orally, intravenously, or topically.

  • Acetaminophen
  • Antidepressants
  • Antiepileptics
  • Corticosteroids
  • Local anesthetics and topicals
  • Medical cannabis
  • Medical foods
  • Muscle relaxants
  • N-methyl-d-aspartate receptor antagonists
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories
  • N-type calcium channel blocker
  • Opioid analgesics
  • Opioid agonist and antagonists

External neuromodulation and stimulation devices

  • Deep oscillation therapy
  • High-frequency impulse therapy
  • H-WAVE
  • Infrared light therapy
  • Interferential current stimulation
  • Laser therapy
  • Neuromuscular electrical stimulation
  • Percutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
  • Pulsed electromagnetic field therapy
  • Scrambler therapy
  • Transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation
  • Ultrasound therapy
  • Vagus nerve stimulation

Interventional procedures

Injections or blocks

  • Epidural injections
  • Facet blocks
  • Hyaluronic acid injections
  • Joint injections
  • Medial branch blocks
  • OnabotulinumtoxinA injections
  • Platelet-rich plasma injections
  • Peripheral nerve blocks
  • Sympathetic nerve blocks
  • Trigger point injections

Neurolysis procedures

  • Chemical neurolysis
  • Cryoneurolysis or cryoablation
  • Radiofrequency ablation or lesioning

Implanted neuromodulation devices

  • Dorsal root ganglion stimulation
  • Intrathecal pain pump
  • Peripheral nerve and field stimulation
  • Spinal cord stimulation