Those who suffer from low back pain often turn to prescription medications, even opioids, to manage their discomfort. Of course we know that opioid medications can lead to addiction, so many doctors have become hesitant about prescribing them. Or, you might think twice before accepting the prescription. You aren’t wrong to feel that way, since a dependence upon pain medications can seriously disrupt your life.
Medicare officials have recognized that back pain is a common problem for Medicare recipients, and that prescription pain medications should be used as a last resort option. This recognition has led them to accept alternative pain treatments as valid options, and even offer coverage for these visits.
That’s where acupuncture could come into play. With acupuncture, specific points on the body are stimulated with needles inserted through the skin. Yes, that sounds a bit scary, but a trained acupuncturist can insert these needles in just the right places without triggering any additional discomfort. The point is to stimulate nerves that disrupt painful sensations. After acupuncture, patients often report a complete relief of their previously debilitating pain!
In recognition of the efficacy of acupuncture, Medicare now covers the treatment up to certain limits. If you have suffered from low back pain for twelve weeks or longer, you will be entitled to twelve acupuncture treatments over a period of ninety days.
If the treatment appears to be working, Medicare will cover an additional eight sessions within the calendar year. However, the program does not pay for more than twenty acupuncture treatments per year, and does not cover the service for low back pain that is judged to be due to infectious disease or surgery.
For more information on acupuncture, talk to your primary care physician. He or she can help you decide if the treatment is worth trying, and in many cases it will be covered by Medicare.