Complementary and alternative medicine is a group of diverse medical and health care systems, practices, and products that are not presently considered to be part of conventional medicine. The difference between Complementary and Alternative medicine is that Complementary medicine is used together with conventional medicine. Alternative medicine is used in place of conventional medicine. Alternative therapies can be effective for easing muscle tension, correcting spinal imbalances, relieving discomfort, and averting long-term back problems by improving muscle strength and joint stability.
An example of an alternative therapy is using a special diet to treat cancer instead of undergoing surgery, radiation, or chemotherapy that has been recommended by a conventional doctor. Alternative medical systems are built upon complete systems of theory and practice. Often, these systems have evolved apart from and earlier than the conventional medical approach used in the United States.
Examples of alternative medical systems that have developed in Western culture include homeopathic medicine and naturopathic medicine. Examples of systems that have developed in non-Western cultures include traditional Chinese medicine and Ayurveda.
Homeopathic is an alternative medical system. In homeopathic medicine, there is a belief that "like cures like," meaning that small, highly diluted quantities of medicinal substances are given to cure symptoms, when the same substances given at higher or more concentrated doses would actually cause those symptoms.
Naturopathic medicine, or naturopathy, is an alternative medical system. Naturopathic medicine proposes that there is a healing power in the body that establishes, maintains, and restores health. Practitioners work with the patient with a goal of supporting this power, through treatments such as nutrition and lifestyle counseling, dietary supplements, medicinal plants, exercise, homeopathy, and treatments from traditional Chinese medicine.
Ayurveda is an alternative medical system that has been practiced primarily in the Indian subcontinent for 5,000 years. Ayurveda includes diet and herbal remedies and emphasizes the use of body, mind, and spirit in disease prevention and treatment. Often the effective treatment of low back pain requires the use of several therapies to achieve the best outcome. One person with back pain may benefit most from medications and massage, and another person may benefit from medications and physical therapy.