Acupuncture and Medicare, An Alternative Treatment for Pain

Those who suffer from low back pain often turn to prescription medications, even opioids, to manage their discomfort. Of course, we know that opioid drugs can lead to addiction, so many doctors have become hesitant about prescribing them. Or, you might think twice before accepting the prescription. You are not 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. The option of prescription pain medications should be a last resort. This recognition has led them to accept alternative pain treatments as valid options and even offer coverage for these visits.

That is where acupuncture could come into play, where needles are inserted through the skin to stimulate specific points on the body. 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 complete relief of their previously debilitating pain!

Medicare now recognizes the efficacy of acupuncture and treatment with limits. Suffering from low back pain for twelve weeks or longer will entitle you 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 caused by infectious disease or surgery. 

For more information on acupuncture, talk to your primary care physician to help you decide if the treatment is worth trying, and in many cases, Medicare covers the procedure.

For information about Nevada Medicare plans contact your ECOS Medicare Solutions agent.

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