American College of Physicians Back Treatment Guidelines – The ACP updated prior guidelines, recommending non-drug treatment first for back pain, including acupuncture, chiropractic manipulative therapy (CMT), osteopathic manipulative therapy (OMT), exercise therapy, massage and yoga.
FDA Education Blueprint for Health Providers Involved in Pain Management: The Blueprint recommends “The [health care provider] should be knowledgeable about which therapies can be used to manage pain and how these should be implemented.” Chiropractic and acupuncture are specifically noted as non-pharmacologic therapies that can play an important role in managing pain.
37 state Attorney Generals, National Governor’s Association, State and National treatment guidelines recommend non-pharmaceutical acupuncture/chiropractic treatment for both acute and chronic pain and dysfunction.
“Average per-episode costs for care that begins with an acupuncturist / DC / PT is only $619, compared with $728 for primary care and $1,728 for specialist care. If you make the initial investment in acupuncture/chiropractic / PT, significant total-episode savings occur.”
“However, first contact with an acupuncturist / DC / PT / only occurs in 30 percent of cases, compared to 70 percent for primary (30 percent) or specialist (40 percent) care.”
“The actuaries have done the work, it’s presented at the actuarial conference, the net of the increased conservative care will take out about 230 million in annual medical expenditures and reduce opiate prescribing for back pain by 25-26 percent.”
These types of findings should continue to fortify the movement towards the use of acupuncture and lead insurance payers (Medicare and VA included) to continue to create greater access for their insured to more easily access acupuncture providers.