Chronic Pain Healthcare Cost Reduction Through Acupuncture

As healthcare costs rise each year, patient, and more importantly employee, health is declining. Of the chronic conditions recognized by the health industry, chronic pain accounts for 20% of them.  Acupuncture has been used for the treatment of painful conditions for thousands of years.

acupunctureOsteoarthritis, fibromyalgia, joint pain, and back pain are among many sources of chronic pain, and they are all contributing to the excessive purchase of pain medication for employees. According to the Institute of Medicine, as of 2011 the annual cost of pain relief per worker was an average of $4,379 a year. Of that amount, an average of $2,310 can be attributed to lost productivity (1,2).

The fact is, Pain Medication is Expensive. Enbrel
(a medication used for rheumatoid arthritis) is costing companies an average of $102,000 annually ($8500 a month), whereas Humira is costing companies an average of $42,000 annually ($4000 a month).

This care and subsequent expense is burdening companies’ when it comes to healthcare costs. What can be done about this?

Integrative Medicine has been proven to more efficiently treat pain in many situations. 

Acupuncture has been shown to reduce costs by $32,000 per patient over a 5-year period, reduce hospitalization by 90%, and reduce the necessity of invasive surgery by 70% (1,3). Further, mind-body therapies have been shown to reduce Rx costs by 58% (4).

Acupuncture is one of the oldest healing techniques in the world, having been around for a whopping 4,000 years!

It is endorsed by:

  • U.S. National Institutes of Health
  • World Health Organization
  • U.S. National Cancer Institute Canadian Cancer Society For Relief of Nausea and Vomiting Caused by Chemotherapy

acupunctureIn 2010, 14 million Americans reported using acupuncture as a part of their healthcare (5). Moreover, the U.S. military has used it since 1995 for problems like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and depression (6).

By using acupuncture as a means of pain relief employers can:

  • Reduce Incidence & Severity of Pain
  • Reduce Healthcare Costs
  • Reduce Absenteeism & Presenteeism
  • Increase Productivity
  • Increase Effectiveness of Healthcare Spending

1. Institute of Medicine (IOM) 2011 report, Relieving Pain in America, A
blueprint for transforming prevention, care, education, and research

2. The Bravewell Collaborative

3. Ballegaard S, Johannessen A, Karpatschof B, Nyboe J. (1999) J Altern Complement Med. 2004 Oct;10(5):777-83. Denmark: Acupuncture & self-care education added to Rx treatment of sever angina patients.

4. Ford Motor Company, Louisville, KY (2010): Acupuncture & mind/body therapies used, with conventional medicine

5. National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine

6. March 2012 US Air Force Report on the Use of Acupuncture