Pain Management in SF

Types of Alternative Pain Management:

Pool Therapy - Yoga - Physical Therapy - Methadone/Substance Abuse Clinics - Cognitive Behavioral Therapy - Acupuncture - Pain Support Groups - Massage

Pool Therapy:

Treatments and exercises performed in water for relaxation, fitness, physical rehabilitation, and other therapeutic benefits. Typically a qualified aquatic therapist gives constant attendance to a person receiving treatment in a heated therapy pool.

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Physical Therapy:

A type of treatment needed when health problems make it hard to move around and do everyday tasks. It helps one move better and may relieve pain. It also helps improve or restore your physical function and your fitness level. The goal of physical therapy is to make daily tasks and activities easier. For example, it may help with walking, going up stairs, or getting in and out of bed.

Methadone/Substance Abuse Clinics:

A clinic where a person that is addicted to opioid-based drugs, such as heroin or prescription painkillers, can receive medication-based therapy through the dispensing of methadone, a schedule II opioid analgesic. The focus of these clinics is the elimination or reduction of opioid usage by putting the patient on methadone. Some clinics also offer short or long-term detoxification services to their patients using methadone.

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Cognitive Behavioral Therapy:

A time-sensitive, structured, present-oriented psychotherapy directed toward solving current problems and teaching clients skills to modify dysfunctional thinking and behavior. One important part of CBT is helping clients change their unhelpful thinking and behavior that lead to enduring improvement in their mood and functioning.

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A form of traditional Chinese medicine that has been practiced for centuries. It's based on the theory that energy, called chi, flows through and around your body along pathways called meridians. It is a complementary medical practice that entails stimulating certain points on the body, most often with a needle penetrating the skin, to alleviate pain or to help treat various health conditions.

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Pain Support Groups:

The goal of an ACPA group is to provide support, validation, and education in basic pain management and life skills. Groups are facilitated by the group members themselves and the success of the group is a shared responsibility. ACPA groups do not focus on symptoms or provide treatment of any kind, rather they are a means for people to share what they have learned and to encourage others to create more satisfying lives.


Yoga includes meditation and exercises to help you improve flexibility and breathing, decrease stress, and maintain health. Yoga is based on the idea that the mind and body are one. Practitioners believe that yoga improves health by enhancing how one sees the world, which calms the spirit and decreases stress. Two basic components of yoga are proper breathing and exercises, called postures, that stretch the body. Postures are done while standing, lying down, sitting in a chair, or in a headstand position. While practicing a posture, individuals do breathing exercises to help relax muscles, maintain the posture, and focus the mind.


For people looking to naturally manage their chronic pain, massage therapy can improve their quality of life by impacting mood as well as manage pain and other benefits. Massage can be a powerful tool for relaxing both mind and body. Research indicates that massage relieves chronic pain, chronic pain of moderate to severe intensity and those with myalgia.

More Information:

Pain Management in San Francisco for providers and patients can also be found through the Department of Public Health's Pain Management Resources site. Providers can find guidelines and policies about pain management, information on buprenorphine, Naloxone Prescribing, Education, and Awareness, and Substance Use Disorders.

Patients can find: non-medication treatment/resources, pain groups, opioid education and dosage centers, informational flyers on pain management, and much more.


Raya Aliakbar
UC Davis Master of Public Health Candidate
Jacob Stultz
B.S. Neurobiology, Physiology, & Behavior
Nikhil Bellamkonda
B.S. Neurobiology, Physiology, & Behavior