Category Archives: Natural Therapies

arthritis supplements for sleep

Three Supplements for Better Sleep

It’s 2 a.m. and you’re wide awake. Your arthritis symptoms are under control. You’ve given up caffeine, naps and late-night TV, and you practice yoga and deep breathing, but these changes haven’t worked for you. Before resorting to prescription sleeping pills, consider trying one of the following natural remedies. But remember: Talk to your doctor before starting any supplement.

Continue reading Three Supplements for Better Sleep

art therapy and arthritis

Art Therapy to Ease Stress

You don’t have to paint like Picasso to benefit from drawing a picture or creating a collage. In fact, no matter your artistic skills, just the practice of making art may ease stress and arthritis pain.

A small study in the journal Art Therapy found art making – drawing, making collages or molding clay – even for just 45 minutes lowered levels of the stress hormone cortisol in people, regardless of their creative ability. And numerous studies link high levels of cortisol to inflammation and greater pain sensitivity. While some study participants found the experience relaxing, others liked the creative self-expression.

Continue reading Art Therapy to Ease Stress

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).


Related Resources:

music and arthritis pain

Use Music to Get You Through Pain

When you need a pick-me-up, help relaxing after a hard day or even a distraction from pain while working on a project, turn on some music.

Music activates your limbic system, the “emotional brain,” which controls emotions, memories and the senses. Music triggers the release of chemicals that can influence your sleep cycles, moods and other factors that contribute to a range of physical and emotional benefits.

Continue reading Use Music to Get You Through Pain

Meditation Options for Arthritis Pain

Easy Meditation Options for Pain

Researchers agree – meditation can help with a host of health problems. “Relaxing and quieting your mind by focusing on your breathing can reduce stress – even the stress that comes with arthritis flares,” says David E. Yocum, MD, director of the Arizona Arthritis Center in Tucson. His studies, as well as others, found that patients who meditated responded to stress with lower heart rates and improved immune function; and that meditation, in combination with traditional medicines, appears to help patients with chronic pain. Studies have shown that meditation inhibits or relieves pain perception. And in a study published in the American Academy of Pain Medicine’s scientific journal in April 2015, 43 patients who used a mindfulness meditation program as part of their pain management experienced lower general anxiety and depression, better mental quality of life (psychological well-being), a greater feeling of control of the pain, and higher pain acceptance.
Continue reading Easy Meditation Options for Pain