With her rheumatologist’s blessing, San Diego’s Patricia Divjak was trying yoga and massage therapy to relieve the joint and muscle pain she experienced from having OA in her lumbar spine and fibromyalgia.

Although yoga and massage helped, on most days she still relied on anti-anxiety medication that eased the tension in her muscles and the constant pain in her lower back. She knew other options were available somewhere.

“I wanted a specialist who would help me use stress reduction and pain relief techniques along with the medications I was already taking,” she says. Patricia discovered Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine in San Diego – in her own backyard.

More Than One Approach to Fighting Pain

During her initial visit, the clinic’s pain specialist, Robert Bonakdar, MD, spent an hour going through several pain questionnaires with Patricia and her husband. He also conducted an extensive physical exam.

“In general, integrative medicine is about putting good ideas, good minds and good therapies together. No one therapist has all the answers to all types of pain,” says Dr. Bonakdar.

Together they evaluated various techniques for pain relief, settling on acupuncture and biofeedback for additional relief.

“We look at the whole body in an integrative approach, considering all conventional and alternative therapies. In addition to the pain relief option chosen by the patient, it’s important to empower the patient to cope with pain through stress reduction, guided imagery techniques, biofeedback training, stretching and movement,” says Dr. Bonakdar.

Working with Rheumatologists

Patricia’s rheumatologist, Carol Young, MD, of Escondido, CA, agrees that a well-rounded approach that is individually tailored works well for patients like Patricia who are willing to put forth the effort. “I’m open to safe, effective alternative therapies. They’ve helped Patricia, particularly in stress management and muscle conditioning,” she says.