The June 2017 issue of the Consumer Reports Magazine took a look at back pain. Causes, remedies, costs, and how back pain affects quality of life. They interviewed 3,562 back pain sufferers and found the most satisfying relief came from regular Yoga or Tai Chi practice. Eighty-nine percent of the sufferers found relief through regular, light exercise. Only 64% got relief by visiting their primary care doctor. Here are the figures.

Treatment Satisfaction Cost Insurance?
Yoga/Tai Chi 89% Low No
Massage Therapist 84% Medium No
Chiropractor 83% Medium Maybe
Physical Therapist 75% Medium Maybe
Neurosurgeon 67% High Yes
Acupuncturist 66% Medium Maybe
Orthopedist 65% High Yes
Primary Care Doctor 64% High Yes
Rheumatologist 61% High Yes

If you look at the columns labeled Cost and Insurance, an odd inverse relationship stands out. When it comes to paying the bill, the insurance companies readily pay for the most expensive remedy, including surgery, while the more effective, low cost treatments of Yoga and Tai Chi are not covered by insurance.

In general, when it comes to insurance companies, they readily pay for remedial treatments of the highest order and are sluggish to pay for preventative measures, like regular exercise. The good news is that slowly, the light is dawning on the insurance/health industry. The decision maker, as always, is money.

Meanwhile, personally, you should assess your own situation, and do the best you can within your own budget to repair, heal, and maintain the best and healthiest regimen for you. One of the lessons age brings, is there is nothing more valuable than a healthy body.

Tai Chi offers one of the most complete, inexpensive practices for maintaining a healthy body. The major cost to you is time. You need to spend time, doing the practice, continuously, to see results. The change won’t be immediate, but, over time, you will realize how much better your body is moving, and how pain has decreased. Little by little, the improvement comes.

Source: Consumer Reports, June 2017, pg 33, “Real Relief from Back Pain”