Over treatment of headaches racking up unnecessary costs; there is a safer and better way.
Headache treatment is a great business. Medication, tests and specialist referrals all evaluate you to eventually treat your symptoms and rarely solve the problem. Life-threatening conditions are rare, and most patients eventually at the direction of their doctors take drugs to reduce the symptoms. Headaches are costing the healthcare system a bundle says Business Insider.
The problem begins with Primary care, who is taught to refer these cases and work them up with many tests at their disposal. When regular medications do not resolve the problem, doctors refer you for scans, tests, and specialists. MRIs of the brain and electrodiagnostic testing, are usually negative. Rarely is the musculoskeletal system considered during an evaluation, since most primary doctors have very little training in how to properly evaluate this common cause of headaches.
One of the most effective ways to evaluate and treat headaches safely, without all the tests is your local chiropractor. Most headaches, including migraines, are a result of mechanical malfunction in the pelvis and mid-back which will affect the movement and tension that exists at the neck. Most patients who visit chiropractors for tension or migraine headaches get relief over a few visits, without needing any medications or expensive tests. Chiropractors address the mechanical malfunctions directly with manipulation to the spine, extremities and other methods such as myofascial release helps to improve the mobility of the fascial system, which acts as an exoskeleton and is responsible for the feeling of being tight all the time.
Mechanical problems require a mechanical solution. It is rare to ever have a more serious life-threatening problem causing the headaches. Perhaps this is why so many people who take medication for the condition do not improve.
In this day and age of concerns for healthcare costs, perhaps more primary physicians should consider chiropractors first before they are referred for other types of testing. Musculoskeletal is a blind spot for most physicians, yet chiropractors are the primary care providers for musculoskeletal problems.
Recently, a patient who had migraines visited our office when the symptoms continued to worsen and her medications no longer worked. Her insurance had a very high deductible which is common today and the costs of visiting the doctor combined with the costs of the name brand medications were overwhelming. As with many headache sufferers, the frequency of the headaches had affected her relationships with both her husband and her children. After a few short chiropractic visits, she was headache free at a far lower cost than her previous medical care and no longer required the expensive medications. As she learned from this experience, thinking differently and using a different approach to her headaches was great for her health, her marriage and her quality of life.
Check out this recent article in Business Insider. Chiropractors should be your first stop for headache relief. More of the standard medical testing, medications and more testing and intervention rarely offers us the relief we are looking for and studies are now showing that this approach is a huge waste of medical resources and can lead to additional unnecessary interventions that are equally ineffective.
Overtreatment of headaches racking up unnecessary costs; there is a safer and better way.
SHEREEN LEHMAN, REUTERS
Contrary to most treatment guidelines for uncomplicated headaches, doctors are ordering expensive scans and referring patients to specialists more often, racking up unnecessary healthcare costs, a new study finds.
“In U.S. healthcare we have a general overtreatment problem and headache is no different except that with headaches a lot of the overtreatment is potentially low value and high cost,” said lead author Dr. John Mafi, an internal medicine fellow at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center in Boston.
The great majority of people will experience a headache at some point in life, and about one in four Americans have recurrent severe headaches such as migraines. About 12 million Americans visit their doctors complaining of headaches each year at an annual cost of about $31 billion, Mafi and his colleagues write in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.
Most evidence-based guidelines for headaches advise conservative treatments such as counseling about stress reduction or avoiding dietary triggers for headaches, and reserve imaging or specialty referrals for “red flag” headaches that stem from neurologic problems, cancer, trauma or human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), the authors note.
“Oftentimes less can be more, particularly for things like uncomplicated headache where the vast majority of times they’ll go away on their own with very conservative treatment and by listening to your body and really paying attention to the triggers,” Mafi told Reuters Health.
Mafi thinks many people have a misconception that more referrals and tests equal better care than simple, but often effective, lifestyle counseling.
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