Dealing with any type of pain can be frustrating. When pain is chronic, it becomes more than simply frustrating, but life-changing.
When in pain, many people’s first instinct is to go for medication. Pharmaceutical companies have created a number of medications meant to lessen pain. However, many of these medications, particularly opioids, have proven to be very harmful to the people who take them because of their addictive properties. The National Institute on Drug Abuse estimates that 90 people in the United States die from overdosing on opioids each day.
When Brandy Golden of Columbus, Ohio had two daughters who both were suffering from amplified musculoskeletal pain syndrome, luckily acupuncture was there to help. Thankfully the nearby Nationwide Children’s Hospital’s Comprehensive Pain Management Clinic treated 13-year-old Gloria and 11-year-old grace without prescribing any medications.
Sharon Wrona, the administrative director of the clinic, says: “I think in the pediatric arena for chronic pain, we’ve always been more about minimizing medications and maximizing [treatments] like acupuncture.”
One of the roadblocks to acupuncture becoming more readily available for children and adults alike in the U.S. is insurance. Many insurance carriers didn’t cover acupuncture, leaving patients fewer, more dangerous options to treat their pain. As we learn more and more about the serious state of the opioid crisis and the harmful potential these drugs can have, availability of acupuncture is becoming more widespread.
In the fall of 2017, the National Association of Attorneys General sent a letter to America’s Health Insurance Plans urging insurers to prioritize coverage of non-opioid pain treatments like acupuncture. In response, Ohio’s Medicaid program in 2018 will start covering acupuncture treatments for certain types of pain, and hopefully will be expanding it to a larger range of pain management treatments. Let’s hope that more and more carriers follow in these footsteps.
Acupuncture is something that all people should know about as one of the safest, most effective pain management treatments. If you know anyone dealing with chronic pain, be sure to recommend a holistic treatment, especially if the alternative is a pain medication.