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Physical Drivers of Health

Acupuncture Found to Reduce Opioid Use and Emergency Department Visits

In response to the need for pain relief therapies that don’t involve opioid medications, acupuncture is one recommended alternative in addition to cognitive behavioral therapy, physical therapy, and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid services (CMS) announced in January 2020 that it would cover acupuncture for chronic low back pain in Medicare beneficiaries, citing the potential for acupuncture to reduce overuse of and addiction to opioids.

Low Back Pain Treatment Moving From Low Value Services to Holistic Solutions

As one of the most common and disabling conditions among adults, low back pain can be treated in numerous ways. However, many treatments have proven ineffective and potentially harmful. Published guidelines have been updated to avoid low-value services like overuse of diagnostic imaging, opioids, spinal injections, and surgery. Researchers examined trends over nine years to see how quickly providers were moving away from these low-value services. Understanding treatment trends is helpful when designing holistic programs for low back pain.