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A Wholistic Take on Pain Management

chiropractor helping patient

A Wholistic Take on Pain Management

December 21, 2020

Magazine February/March 2020

Alliance Integrative Medicine looks at the whole person when it comes to managing pain

Alliance Integrative Medicine, located at 6400 E. Galbraith Road in Kenwood, often sees patients come in looking for help with their chronic pain.

Dr. Steve Amoils, director of AIM, says that while most people consider there to only be two types of pain—pain that can be handled with over-the-counter medications and pain that requires narcotics or surgery—there is actually a large gray area in the middle.

“There’s so many therapies that are wonderful for pain that don’t involve pills, that are generally safe,” he says.

As an integrative medicine facility, AIM is set up to assist patients with many different types of pain in a variety of ways. AIM treats patients with musculoskeletal pain, fibromyalgia, arthritis, irritable bowel syndrome, endometriosis, headaches and even cancer-related pain using a team approach. AIM’s team of doctors, chiropractors, energy healers, Rolfers, massage therapists and a dietician work together to create a wholistic plan for decreasing someone’s pain.

One example is AIM’s ACE treatment. “A stands for acupuncture, C for chiro, E for energy, and it has a lot of really good benefits when you do it all together,” says Dr. Teresa Esterle, associate medical director of AIM’s fellowship program.

For AIM, it’s all about creating a personalized medical plan that addresses an individual’s needs as well as the unique causes that have triggered the pain.

“We don’t just look at a symptom. For us, to really have an impact, we want to find out the root cause of the problem,” says Esterle.

When a patient comes in for their first appointment, they spend more than an hour completing a health assessment that looks at everything from biometrics to mental health. Once a possible issue is identified, AIM works from multiple angles to fix the problem. With joint pain, for example, AIM may provide patients with massage therapy and acupuncture to help relieve the pain. Then, to fix what is causing the pain, a patient may see a Rolfer to realign their body’s structure or the dietician to cut down on food that may be causing inflammation.

“So often people come in and see their pain as just spontaneously starting when in fact they’ve been on a slow slide down and there’s been a single tipping point, a straw on the camel’s back sort of speak, that pushes them into a pain syndrome. Getting someone out of that pain syndrome implies not only changing their pain but also changing the slide that they’ve been on and re-focusing them on a trajectory toward health and wellness,” says Amoils.

Amoils adds that once AIM has been able to help with a patient’s pain, many are ready for the next step of becoming healthier people, too.

“We often say come for pain, stay for wellness,” says Amoils.

This article originally appeared at and was written by Corinne Minard.

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