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Insurance may not cover alternative chronic pain treatments

One reason that alternative therapies like acupuncture, reflexology, meditation, and traditional Chinese medicine have gained in popularity is that chronic pain victims often cannot find relief for their symptoms. However, although many health practitioners now refer patients for certain acupuncture treatments, alternative medical approaches are still not widely known or prescribed by Western doctors to their chronic pain patients.

A recent figure might provide context for Georgia readers about the degree to which chronic pain can affect a person's life. The results of several studies suggest that as many as 70 percent of suicides might be motivated by patients unable to bear the symptoms of their chronic pain or another type of severe illness.

A Georgia resident also confirms the debilitating effects of chronic disabilities or pain. The 24-year-old suffers from a genetic condition called neurofibromatosis, type 2, which causes tumors to grow on nerve tissue. While in college, the young man admits that he passively considered drinking enough pharmaceutical and alcohol cocktails to never wake up again.

If the level of pain presented by chronic disabilities is enough to put many patients at risk for suicide, it should be no surprise that such conditions may also make it impossible to work. Yet alternative treatments and counseling for depression arising from chronic pain may not be covered by an individual's health insurance. In times like that, federal assistance in the form of Social Security disability insurance payments might be an option for eligible applicants. Low income applicants without a substantial work history might instead qualify for Supplemental Security Income.

Source: timesfreepress.com, "Chronic pain difficult to treat, hard to control, a threat for suicide," Clint Cooper, April 14, 2013

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