SCF Offers Drug-free Alternatives to Pain Management

Traditional physical healing is a hands-on, ancient way of helping the body heal through energy work and touch.

Recently, SCF received funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration to help combat the opioid crisis in the region, including several villages in the Rural Anchorage Service Unit. The $2.9 million, two-year grant will support rural behavioral health services and work with various clinics operated by SCF. The goal is to reassess current programs and further expand prevention, treatment, and community-based recovery support services. The intention is to do so while coordinating training for rural clinics, behavioral health aides, and other Tribal clinic employees. The increased funding and resulting efforts will strengthen the entire community by further integrating cultural perspectives into the services provided.

Currently, SCF offers multiple, drug-free alternatives to pain management. Some of the clinics offering drug-free solutions to customer-owners include Complementary Medicine, Traditional Healing, and Physical Therapy and Exercise. These clinics and their services are made available to customer-owners on a referral basis.

Complementary medicine includes chiropractic care, acupuncture, and massage therapy. It is offered as a treatment option for acute injuries or illness as a complement to primary care. SCF chiropractic services provide focus on the ties between the spine and the nervous system. Through spinal adjustment, treatments can ease problems caused by restricted vertebrae and other joints. Acupuncturists treat customer-owners using various methods to re-balance the energy system in the body, promote healing, and reduce inflammation systematically, as well as manage addictive behavior. Finally, clinical massage therapists provide treatments to customer-owners that can help relieve pain, muscle tension, reduce stress, and work problem specific areas.

Physical Therapy and Exercise provides comprehensive care for a variety of conditions. A team of providers partners with customer-owners to encourage a healthier lifestyle to optimize overall functional movement. Primary services include prevention and treatment of chronic health conditions like diabetes and arthritis. Pain management services serve populations of all ages, ultimately providing a driving force for long-term, opioid-free treatment.

SCF’s Traditional Healing Clinic provides traditional Alaska Native approaches to health in an outpatient setting. Tribal doctors assist customer-owners of all ages with practices such as traditional physical healing and traditional counseling. In a recent evaluation of the clinic, the study found that the majority of the customer-owners receiving services in the clinic are living with some sort of chronic pain.

SCF is committed to creating opportunities and resources to support customer-owners. The CDC improved the way opioids are prescribed by providing clinical practice guidelines to ensure a safer and more effective approach to pain management. The goal: reduce the number of people who misuse or overdose from opioids.

by Kally Greene-Gudmundson and Shamika Andrew

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