Alternative Therapies for Chronic Pain | Kaiser Permanente

Alternative Therapies for Chronic Pain | Kaiser Permanente


A FEW WEEKS AGO KENNETH MCGAHUEY COULDN’T
BEND DOWN TO WORK IN HIS GARDEN. It hurt to stand, it hurts to sit, it hurt
to do anything pretty much, so I was just looking to get some relief. MCGAHUEY WASN’T SURE WHAT WAS CAUSING THE
PAIN RUNNING DOWN HIS LEG, BUT IT WAS DEBILITATING AND HE WAS DETERMINED TO GET SOME RELIEF. OVER-THE-COUNTER MEDICATIONS TOOK THE EDGE
OFF, BUT IT WAS A FEW SESSIONS OF ACUPUNCTURE THAT MADE THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE. How is the pain since our last visit? The
pain is gone. A lot of times the conventional treatments
that are offered are not completely effective and have toxicities and people are looking
for more and better answers to help them manage their pain syndromes. CHARLES ELDER IS A PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIAN
AT KAISER PERMANENTE IN PORTLAND, OREGON. HE HAS EXTENSIVE TRAINING IN CONVENTIONAL
OR ALLEOPATHIC MEDICINE, BUT HE’S ALSO WELL-SCHOOLED IN ALTERNATIVE AND COMPLEMENTARY THERAPIES. HE EVEN USES SOME OF THEM HIMSELF. ELDER AND HIS COLLEAGUES AT THE KAISER PERMANENTE
CENTER FOR HEALTH RESEARCH SURVEYED MORE THAN SIX-THOUSAND CHRONIC PAIN PATIENTS ENROLLED
IN THE KAISER PERMANENTE HEALTH PLAN IN WASHINGTON AND OREGON. SEVENTY-FIVE PERCENT REPORTED USING SOME TYPE
OF ALTERNATIVE THERAPY. FIFTY-EIGHT PERCENT SAID THEY�D USED ACUPUNCTURE
OR CHIROPRACTIC CARE OR BOTH. I was surprised that the rate was that high. MANY PATIENTS SAID THEY DIDN’T DISCUSS THIS
CARE WITH THEIR DOCTORS, BUT ALMOST ALL OF THEM SAID THEY’D BE HAPPY TO DISCUSS THE
ALTERNATIVE TREATMENTS IF THEIR DOCTORS ASKED. This is a prompt for us as physicians to be
sure to engage our patients in this discussion, because it’s important for us to know what
our patients are doing so we can advise them. AT KAISER PERMANENTE MANY PATIENTS HAVE A
HEALTH INSURANCE BENEFIT FOR ACUPUNCTURE AND CHIROPRACTIC CARE ,BUT SOME SEEK THIS CARE
EVEN WHEN THEY DON’T HAVE A BENEFIT. What coverage they have influences how they
get the care and what care they get, but in the end a lot of patients are going to get
this care without reference to whether they have coverage or not even if it means paying
out of pocket. KENNETH MCGAUGHEY’S INSURANCE PAID FOR MOST
OF HIS ACUPUNCTURE, HE HAD TO PAY A TEN-DOLLAR PER VISIT CO-PAY, BUT HE SAYS IT WAS WELL
WORTH IT. HE’S BACK TO WORK, AND BACK TO SWINGING
A GOLF CLUB I’M MARY SAWYERS REPORTING

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