Right now, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) is soliciting public comment as to whether or not acupuncture for chronic low back pain should be covered by Medicare. You only have until August 14 to provide CMS with your position on its proposal. U.S. Pain has provided a few talking points and tips as to what to include within your comments. You can also read more about the proposal here.

Tips

If you’ve tried acupuncture for chronic low back pain or other chronic conditions, include your personal experience within your comments. Example: I have been seeing an acupuncturist for the last [insert months/years] for [name your chronic condition] and it has helped me by [share if it offered relief, reduction of pain, etc.].

  1. Remember that your comments will be made public, so you’ll want to be mindful of your tone and word choice, and carefully consider whether you share any private information.
  2. Consider thanking CMS for the proposal and why you support its decision to hear from the chronic pain community.
  3. You may wish to request that coverage for acupuncture be offered to all beneficiaries and for other chronic conditions, not just those participating in studies for low back pain.

Talking points

  • Chronic low back pain is a debilitating condition that can be expensive to diagnose and treat, but is also resistant to many conventional treatments.
  • Americans living with this condition may experience financial burdens due to missed work and the high cost of health care premiums.
  • Worldwide, back pain is the single leading cause of disability, preventing many people from engaging in work as well as other everyday activities.
  • Individuals with chronic low back pain, or any chronic pain condition deserve the opportunity to access therapies that may reduce their pain levels and enhance their quality of life.
  • Consider coverage for all Medicare beneficiaries living with chronic low back pain or chronic pain in general, not just those enrolled within an approved study.
  • The American Academy of Medical Acupuncture, the American College of Physicians, and other medical organizations have endorsed acupuncture as a front line treatment for pain in general, but more specifically, for chronic low back pain.
  • Integrative and complementary therapies, such as acupuncture, can serve as a valuable addition to the conventional chronic pain management plan.

About acupuncture

Acupuncture, common in Chinese medicine, involves inserting thin, tiny needles into certain points of the body. Traditional Chinese practitioners believe acupuncture balances the flow of energy or life force – known as qi or chi. Western practitioners see it as a way to stimulate nerves and muscles in a way that promotes pain relief and healing. To learn more about acupuncture,¬†check out U.S. Pain’s recent webinar on the topic.