Getting Insurance Companies to Pay Up

By Cindy Perlin, Special for  USDR

New low back pain treatment guidelines from the American College of Physicians (ACP) were published last Tuesday in the Annals of Internal Medicine.  Based on a review of the evidence, the ACP concluded that pharmacological interventions for low back pain offered fewer benefits and greater risks than nonpharmacological  therapy.

The ACP now strongly recommends that low back pain be treated with alternative therapies including massage, acupuncture, spinal manipulation, exercise, multidisciplinary rehabilitation, mindfulness-based stress reduction, tai chi, yoga, biofeedback, low-level laser therapy, or cognitive-behavioral therapy.  It further recommends that only if these treatments fail should pharmacological treatment be considered and that the preferred option is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs.  The ACP advised that opioids should be used only as a last resort and only after weighing whether the potential benefits outweigh the  risks.

According to chronic pain expert Cindy Perlin, author of The Truth About Chronic Pain Treatments: The Best and Worst Strategies for Becoming Pain Free, these recommendations are long overdue.  “Too many pain patients have been harmed by poorly vetted medications while safer, more effective treatments have been ignored,” says Perlin. However, she adds, “These new guidelines won’t help most pain patients because health insurers refuse to pay for the recommended treatments and few patients can afford to pay for them out of pocket. Insurers need to be required to pay for these therapies.”  Perlin has developed a legislative proposal, the Pain Treatment Parity Act, to address this issue and is currently lobbying for its  adoption.

About Cindy  Perlin

Perlin is a licensed clinical social worker, certified biofeedback practitioner and chronic pain survivor. She has been a guest on multiple TV and radio networks, among them PBS, SiriusXM, and RadioMD. Her op-ed pieces and letters have been published in the Albany Times Union, New York Times and Wall Street Journal and she has contributed columns to,,, and others. More information can be found at

SOURCE Cindy  Perlin

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.