Monthly Archives: July 2016

Insurance Coverage Questions to Ask Before Back Surgery

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When it comes to insurance, most policies (including Medicare) cover back surgery, as long as it is deemed medically necessary by a doctor. But, insurance coverage can be confusing, which is why it’s important for patients to stay informed about their insurance coverage and what it entails.

Each insurance policy differs regarding what is covered and what is not. Additionally, there are a few things that can affect your level of coverage, so it’s important to be familiar with these aspects, to ensure you will have minimal out-of-pocket expenses. Things to keep in mind when reviewing insurance coverage before back surgery:

  • Reason for surgery.

    Some insurance policies will only cover surgery relating to a specific diagnosis, so be sure to read into your policy before scheduling your surgery. If your insurance policy covers back surgery, the surgery will need to be deemed medically necessary for your insurance to cover it.

  • Work-related injury.

    If your back surgery is due to a work-related injury, most insurance companies will require your company’s workers’ compensation coverage to pay for the procedure, rather than your personal insurance.

  • In-network vs. Out-of-network.

    Some insurance policies don not offer out-of-network benefits to members and require diagnosis by a specialist within their network in order for them to cover the procedure. Policies that have both in-network and out-of-network benefits allow their members more flexibility when deciding on where to seek medical treatment for back pain.  Be sure to check with your insurance company whether or not this applies to you.

  • Type of surgery recommended.

    There are certain types of surgeries that your insurance may not cover. Check with the doctor to find out which type of surgery he or she recommends, and then follow-up with your insurance provider to ensure that they cover it. If back surgery is covered by your insurance carrier, your coverage will not change if you choose to have minimally invasive back surgery or traditional open-back surgery.

  • Benefit level covered.

    Depending on your benefit level, some aspects of surgery or postoperative care may not be covered, such as medications and therapeutic medical equipment.

The key to understanding which procedures your insurance will or will not cover is communication. Speak with your insurance company, read the coverage information they send, and follow up with any questions you may have.

Deskercise Tips for Back Pain Relief

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Research shows that a sedentary lifestyle can be harmful to a person’s overall health. Unfortunately, with many people sitting behind a desk for eight hours a day, the risk of cardiovascular disease, varicose veins, obesity, type 2 diabetes or back problems is increased. That is why it’s important to incorporate some stretching or light exercise during the workday.

Exercise Tips While Sitting at Work

Stretching exercises at your desk can boost energy levels, improve mood and offer upper and lower back pain relief. Here are some tips to help develop a deskercise routine and make each day a little healthier.

  • The Posture Perfecter:

    Neck and back problems can occur more quickly due to bad posture, so be sure to sit properly in your chair and avoid slouching. Adjust the chair height to make sure your feet, hips, and arms are at 90-degree angles to the floor.

  • The Headshot:

    Stretch your neck by gently lowering your right ear to your right shoulder, holding in place for 5 seconds. Repeat to the opposite side. With each stretch, you may find yourself more flexible, but don’t go further than what is comfortable.

  • The Leaning Tower:

    Stretch your arms and your upper body by reaching your hands above your head, stretching toward the ceiling. Lean at the waist in this position, first to the right side, then the left. Try to keep your shoulders from rising to your ears in order to protect your muscles from tensing up.

  • The Pencil Pinch:

    Roll your shoulders back until the shoulder blades are pinched together and pretend you’re holding a pencil between the scapulas. Hold for 5 seconds, release and repeat.

  • The Spine Rotator:

    Use your chair to stretch! Sit upright with both hands on the right side of the chair. Gently rotate your shoulders to the right until your spine is twisting slightly. Release your hands and repeat on the left side.

  • The Last Man Standing:

    Be sure to stand up and walk around for a couple of minutes every hour. This gives the body a break from sitting and increases blood flow.

Don’t be embarrassed to work out a little at your desk. Stretching throughout the workday can offer some lower and upper back pain relief while ensuring that you live a more active lifestyle.