Explaining workers’ compensation medical benefits for acupuncture, chiropractic care and other alternative medicine treatments
When you suffer a serious physical injury, there are many types of traditional treatment options that your doctor is likely to recommend such as physical therapy, medication or surgery. But if these traditional methods don’t work, you may start looking into alternative medicine therapies.
If you were injured at work and are receiving workers’ compensation benefits, there are some important things you need to know about alternative treatments and whether or not they are covered in Georgia.
What is alternative medicine?
“Alternative” medicine is a term that usually describes non-traditional treatment options. Some people refer to alternative medicine as “complementary medicine.”
Some of the most popular types of alternative medicine include:
This is a type of treatment that focuses on the structure of the body. The main focus is on the spine and the manner in which it functions. Trained professionals in chiropractic medicine are referred to as chiropractors. Chiropractors can use various techniques to treat the spine and other body parts so that they’re well-aligned. Chiropractic medicine aims to improve body functions and ease chronic pain.
Much research has been done in recent years on the efficacy of chiropractic medicine, particularly its application in treating lower back pain. According to some studies, chiropractic medicine can also be used to treat different ailments such as neck pain, chronic headaches, and joint problems both in the lower and upper body.
Herbal therapy involves using plant leaves, roots, flowers, and even berries to help to heal the body. A World Health Organization (WHO) survey found that at least 80 percent of the world’s population usually uses some form of herbal medicine. Many folks claim that specific herbs can effectively treat certain health issues, such as chronic fatigue or allergies.
Acupuncture is an ancient form of Chinese medicine that entails the use of thin, sterile needles placed in different parts of the body to stimulate lymph nodes and energy centers. The professional who conducts this type of therapy is known as an acupuncturist.
Magnetic field therapy
This form of energy therapy relies on the electrical or magnetic fields to treat different musculoskeletal issues. Some studies have been conducted on magnetic field therapy, and they typically showcase that this form of treatment can help a patient manage pain, osteoarthritis, and other conditions.
This form of therapy is also sometimes used to help fractures heal within a limited period. If you’re pregnant, using an insulin pump, you have a cardiac device that has been implanted, or administering drugs utilizing a patch, then magnetic field therapy is not recommended for you.
In this type of energy therapy, the practitioner claims to use their healing energy to look into the imbalances present in your energy field and repair them accordingly. The therapist will not touch you. Instead, they will move their hands over your body.
Advocates say that therapeutic touch therapy can help to reduce anxiety among cancer patients. The sense of well-being will also improve. It’s not yet clear whether the treatment option will work for other conditions.
Some individuals believe they can tap into the natural energy in the body to ensure the healing process takes place faster. A professional who practices Reiki will generally place their hands over your body, and there will be continuous movement. The goal is to channel the energy from their hand to your body to promote healing.
For energy therapies such as Reiki, therapeutic touch and magnetic field therapy, there is insufficient research to prove their medical efficacy.
Does workers’ comp in Georgia cover alternative medicine treatments?
Most folks in Georgia who are injured in the line of duty can apply for workers’ compensation benefits. This means their employer or company’s insurance company will pay for medical care from an authorized treating physician, including diagnostic tests and prescription medication, as well as a portion of lost wages.
Unfortunately, workers’ compensation generally will not pay for the alternative medicine treatments.
The main issue for insurers is that alternative medicine is not currently regulated, which means it is not independently evaluated for efficacy. Although some states include acupuncture as compensable through the workers’ compensation system, Georgia is not one of them.
There must be more evidence to prove that these and other alternative medicine treatment options are effective before insurance firms are likely to include them in their coverage plans.