Do you, or someone you know, live with chronic pain on a daily basis? Pain management, especially chronic pain management can get very expensive. You have your regular doctor visits, various medications, those prescribed and over-the-counter, physical therapy, as well as various other therapies prescribed by your physician. With all those treatments, medications and therapies comes associated costs, some very expensive, and after all that outlay of funds you may still be experiencing pain on a daily basis. What if there was a way to manage or eliminate your pain with less cost to you?
One Quarter Of Retirees Have Chronic Pain
Pain is a fact of life for many retirees and older adults. It dramatically and negatively impacts their life on a daily basis. Nearly 25% of older Americans live with chronic pain that affects their ability to function and to live a full and active life. Hobbies, favorite activities, and physical exercise have to be put aside, or for many they come to a screeching halt. Many people choose to take medications to reduce the pain, while others choose other therapeutic approaches, such as physical therapy, massage, supplements, over the counter remedies, chiropractic or naturopathic care. When living on a fixed income or a tight budget, those approaches can take a considerable chunk out of your wallet, leaving you feeling the impact.
“Chronic pain afflicts a relatively small percentage of Americans in their late teens and early 20s, but increases sharply as adults enter middle age. By the time Americans are in their late 50s and older, more than one-third report chronic pain in their neck or back, with a similar percentage reporting such pain in their knee or leg. In addition, nearly one-quarter of Americans in their late 50s have other conditions that cause recurring pain.”
Low-income Americans, those whose annual income is under $36,000 are more likely to experience chronic pain, and that demographic consists, in part, of retirees on a limited income. So, what can be done to manage and even prevent chronic pain from becoming part of your life, while not emptying your bank account in the process?
The Benefits, Without The Side Effects
An article on the Harvard Health Publications website quotes Dr. Lucy Chen, a board-certified anesthesiologist, pain medicine specialist, and acupuncturist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital as saying, “I think the benefit of acupuncture is clear, and the complications and potential adverse effects of acupuncture are low compared with medication.” The same article continues, “Over the years there has been substantial debate about whether acupuncture really works for chronic pain. Research from an international team of experts adds to the evidence that it does provide real relief from common forms of pain. The team pooled the results of 29 studies involving nearly 18,000 participants. Some had acupuncture, some had “sham” acupuncture, and some didn’t have acupuncture at all. Overall, acupuncture relieved pain by about 50%.”
Community Acupuncture Can Be A Boost To Your Wallet
Acupuncture can be expensive for those on a limited budget or fixed income. An affordable option that provides quality care at an affordable price is community acupuncture. So, what exactly is community acupuncture?
Jordan Van Voast, L.Ac., owner of and practitioner at CommuniChi, a community acupuncture clinic, explains that most U.S. acupuncturists treat patients on tables in individual cubicles. This is not traditional in Asia, where acupuncture usually occurs in a community setting. Treating patients in a community setting has many benefits. It is easy for friends and family members to receive treatment together and many find it comforting as the collective energetic field (group chi) nurtures the entire group.
Sessions at community acupuncture clinics are considerably less cost to the patient than an individual session, with prices generally from $20 and up. Some community acupuncture clinics operate on a sliding scale basis.
There are many community acupuncture clinics across the U.S. Locate a community acupuncture clinic near you on the POCA Coop website!
Jim Sullivan, L.Ac., a licensed acupuncturist with St. Louis Community Acupuncture shared this fun and informative video. They talk about seniors and acupuncture, specifically, at about the 2:30 point on the video.
Have you tried the community acupuncture model for treatment of your pain? Do you like the idea of a sliding fee scale to make acupuncture more affordable for retirees on a budget?
Share your thoughts in the comment section below.
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Note: This article is for informational purposes only and is not intended to provide medical advice. Talk to your health care professional regarding treatment modality recommendation. Budget Retirement has received no renumeration for business or professional references in this article.