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.
Continue reading Paying for Alternative Medicine
Studies show nearly half of all patients don’t follow their doctor’s advice, so they fall short of their health goals.
“Almost everyone wants to feel better and do what they set out to,” says William McCann, director of behavioral science education at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. “But translating knowledge into action requires strategy.”
Continue reading Achieving Arthritis Treatment Goals
Physicians who treat patients with arthritis and related conditions now have more help in selecting treatments, thanks to a growing library of new and updated clinical guidelines and recommendations.
When faced with both common and uncommon situations, unanswered questions or complicated cases, guidelines and recommendations can provide physicians with answers without the need to personally do exhaustive searches of the medical literature, says Michael Ward, MD, an investigator for the National Institutes of Health.
Guidelines are not meant to replace the judgment of a knowledgeable physician or the preferences of a patient, says Dr. Ward.
“The [American College of Rheumatology] makes the point that these are not requirements, but need to be judged in the context of each individual patient, because each individual patient is different, has a different medical history, has different comorbidities or different contraindications to particular treatments, and all of that needs to be factored in when deciding on any particular course of action,” says Dr. Ward, who was principal investigator for new recommendations for the treatment of ankylosing spondylitis and non-radiographic axial spondyloarthritis.
Continue reading New Arthritis Treatment Guidelines Available