Caring for Neck Injuries: Cost and Techniques, Part II

Matthew Powell

108602_massage_chairIf you have recently been in a Tampa auto accident, then there is a good chance that you might have suffered whiplash.  It is a common complication of car crashes and can have very uncomfortable outcomes.  Unfortunately, whiplash can also result in chronic pain and mounting medical bills.  In this second post of a two-part series, I will discuss some of the common neck pain treatments and the potential costs associated with them.

Physical Therapy. At times, surgery is not an option for a neck pain patient or in the aftermath of the surgery there is a need to rebuild one’s strength.  In those instances, physical therapy will often be prescribed.  It has proven very effective at helping patients overcome neck pain, but has only been recognized as a viable treatment by insurance companies relatively recently.  Even today, many insurance companies drastically limit the number of visits a patient is allowed each year.  For chronic pain patients, those limitations are often far too strict and the out-of-pocket cost for a single visit is often over $100 and patients will typically go at least once per week, making the monthly expense more than many can afford.

Massage. Another potential treatment that is newly recognized for its medical benefits is massage and it can be very beneficial for chronic neck pain patients.  Because it hasn’t long been considered worthy of a medical prescription, massage is not covered by all health insurance plans, which means that the patient will have to pay out-of-pocket for treatment.  The price tag on an hour massage varies substantially depending on the masseuse and the area in which the patient resides.  One can expect to pay between $65 and $300 (or even more at some travel spas) for a single hour of treatment.

Acupuncture. Many insurance plans do cover acupuncture today, but there are those that still fail to offer this service to customers.  This treatment involves the use of very thin needles inserted in the uppermost layers of the skin.  It is based on a Chinese principle, which suggests that the needles can improve energy flow within the body, thereby reducing inflammation and discomfort for neck pain patients.  The cost of this treatment, without insurance coverage, will generally run in the neighborhood of $50 to $100 per visit.

Chiropractic. While acupuncture and massage remain neglected by many insurance policies, chiropractic is more readily accepted.  The manual adjustments of the spine have proven very beneficial to people suffering from neck or back pain.  Generally, a person not covered by their health policy would expect to pay about $65 per visit.  However, in some areas prices dip down to $35, while more expensive areas of the country might see prices set at or above $100.

Exercise. It certainly doesn’t have to cost much of anything and exercise has long been acknowledged as a great way to improve neck and back pain, as long as it is managed correctly.  A neck pain patient should always consult a physician before starting a new exercise program, but low-impact movements like those in Yoga and Tai Chi have demonstrated wonderful healing powers in recent years.

Matthew Powell

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