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fusion workouts for arthritis

Go Hybrid for Your Arthritis Workout

Yogalates. Gyrotonics. Piloxing. They may be hard to pronounce, but fusion workouts – which combine moves from two or more disciplines, such as yoga and Pilates (yogalates) or water aerobics and tai chi (ai chi) – are increasingly popular.

“People love fusion fitness because it’s challenging and novel,” says Jessica Matthews, group fitness expert and spokesperson for the American Council on Exercise (ACE) in San Diego and a fitness trainer who has trained people with arthritis.

But is it safe and worth your time? Fusion workouts can introduce you to other forms of exercise. Plus, “if you enjoy a particular type of exercise but are bored with your current routine, it’s a great way to break through the monotony,” says Matthews.

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paying for alternative medicine

Paying for Alternative Medicine

If you’ve tried acupuncture, therapeutic massage or other complementary and alternative medicine (CAM) treatments to ease your arthritis symptoms, you’re not alone. About a third of U.S. adults use some form of CAM therapy, at an estimated out-of-pocket cost of $30.2 billion in 2012, according to a National Health Interview Survey. This number represents only 1.1% of total health care spending, but it’s more than 9% of total out-of-pocket health care expenses.

Countless studies have shown that certain CAM therapies may help reduce the pain and disability associated with arthritis and related conditions, yet health insurance often doesn’t cover them. Here are some tips from industry experts to improve the chances that your insurance plan will foot the bill.

Call Your Insurance Company First

Ask if the treatment is covered for your condition, if it needs to be preauthorized and if you need a referral or a prescription. Find out if your insurance will cover your practitioner, whether there are any limits such as a maximum number of visits and if there is an out-of-pocket cost. Also ask if you’ll need to pay up front and then file with the insurer for reimbursement, says Sean McGuire, president of E.D. Bellis, a health care consulting company.

File an Appeal

If your insurance company rejects the claim, file an appeal. Keep a file about your treatment, including notes about calls and copies of bills and letters. Ask your doctor for a statement detailing the medical necessity of your treatment, and ask your CAM provider to supply evidence about the treatment benefits, such as articles from peer-reviewed journals. Ultimately, though, “the onus is on you, the patient, to provide evidence that the treatment is effective,” says Hector De La Torre, executive director of the Transamerica Center for Health Studies, a nonprofit institute for health care education. Resources include the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health, PubMed and MedlinePlus.

Set Up a Tax-Exempt Account

Two types of savings accounts can be used for health care expenses, including certain CAM therapies, such as acupuncture. Flexible Spending Accounts, offered by some employers, and Health Savings Accounts, available to people with high-deductible health plans, set aside pre-tax dollars to be used for certain health costs. Check with your account provider to find out if your CAM therapy is considered a qualified medical expense.

Bargain with Your Provider

If your insurance company refuses to pay for your CAM treatments, see if the treatment provider will cut you a deal. If you know you’ll be receiving several treatments, you might be able to negotiate a lower rate (especially if you pay up front).

AUTHOR: ALYSSA SHAFFER 

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arthritis diet shopping canned foods

Arthritis Diet Power Shopping: Canned Foods

Meats, soups, fruits or vegetables, the canned variety offers many benefits. You’ll still get the inflammation-fighting omega 3 fatty acids in canned salmon, sardines and tuna. Canned vegetables and fruits are often processed shortly after they are picked, and nutrient losses don’t occur during shipping, on the grocer’s shelf, or in your home. Their portability makes them great for an arthritis diet on the go. They last longer and can save you money.

And there are some veggies that may be more beneficial in canned form rather than fresh. Canned tomatoes, for example, are a better source of lycopene, a powerful antioxidant, because cooking makes them easier for the body to absorb. According to a comparative analysis of canned, fresh, and frozen fruits and vegetables by the University of Illinois Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition, fiber content is as high in canned products as in their fresh counterparts and the canning process may actually increase calcium levels in fish as compared to its freshly cooked variety.

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medical imaging arthritis diagnosis

Medical Imaging for Arthritis Diagnosis

Whether it’s magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), an ultrasound or a good old-fashioned X-ray, your doctor is likely to order some type of medical imaging to see what’s going on below the surface with your arthritis.

“The most important thing rheumatologists can do to assess patients is still a good history and clinical exam. The role of imaging is to assist in assessing the degree of severity,” says Orrin Troum, MD, professor of medicine at University of Southern California and spokesperson for the International Society for Musculoskeletal Imaging in Rheumatology. Understanding its severity helps a doctor decide how aggressively to treat the disease.

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remove snow ice

Less Painful Ways to Remove Snow and Ice

Shoveling snow can be back-breaking work, even when you don’t have arthritis. Add in the pain and stiffness of arthritis, and you need to find a different solution. We’ve got some options for you. But take precautions. Even these simpler means to melting winter’s mix can be strenuous, so talk to your doctor or therapist before you try them.

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avocado and salsa food duo

Arthritis Foods That Are Better Together

Looking for an easy, delicious way to improve your heath and arthritis? It’s all about filling your plate with the right combos. “Many nutrients have a synergistic effect. And what’s terrific is that the foods that contain these nutrients tend to taste great together,” says Joan Salge Blake, a registered dietitian and clinical associate professor at Boston University.

Here are five food duos that can supercharge your diet.

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