Acupuncture as an Essential Health Benefit

Starting in 2014, most health plans will be required to offer a comprehensive package of items and services to patients, known as “essential health benefits” (EHB). Under the new law, EHB must cover certain specific services including emergency services, maternity and newborn care, prescription drugs as well as preventive and wellness services, among others.

If you are a consumer or acupuncturist in support of acupuncture treatments being included as part of an EHB, you should send an email showing your support for acupuncture to:

Department of Human and Health Services:

The window of opportunity for you, the public, to voice your opinion to the government about how you feel is between now and January 31, 2012.  Act now!

Below is a link with some more information on acupuncture and EHB:



Sciaticare Penetrating Muscle Rub – PRODUCT


August Point Wellness is proud to offer a natural alternative to Ben-Gay, Tiger Balm, Icy Hot, etc.  Under our daughter brand Sciaticare, we introduce to you the Sciaticare Penetrating Muscle Rub.

The Sciaticare Penetrating Muscle Rub, or PMR as we like to call it, is a balm (or salve) based on traditional herbal medicine from ancient China.  This externally applied balm helps to warm the local area, relieve pain, improve circulation, and speed healing.  It can be used on muscle strains, tendon/ligament sprains, bruises, edema, arthritis, and other musculoskeletal aches and pains.

The PMR was originally created by Dylan Jawahir, L.Ac., L.M.T. to aid in the treatment of sciatic pain and piriformis syndrome in our clinic.  After an acupuncture and tui na session, the PMR was applied to the treated area to speed healing, reduce pain, and assist in shorter recovery time.  The Sciaticare PMR ingredients were selected based upon the traditional Chinese Dit Da Jow medicines that have been used for thousands of years by monks training in various kung fu styles.  These kung fu practitioners needed to heal their injury quickly in order to continue training.  As you can see, the Sciaticare Penetrating Muscle Rub has a broad application, treating much more than just sciatica.

At August Point Wellness, we also use the PMR with Tui Na deep tissue massage techniques.  The PMR balm is easy to work with and the jojoba oil is easily absorbed into the skin.  For deeper penetration, the PMR can be massaged into the skin and a heating pad or other warming device placed over the affected area.

You can purchase the Sciaticare Penetrating Muscle Rub directly from us at August Point Wellness, or online at:

To learn about the ingredients of our Sciaticare Penetrating Muscle Rub, below is a small guide:

  • Natural Beeswax – (Cera Alba) skin protectant, moisture barrier, binding agent
  • Jojoba Oil – (Simmondsia Chinenis) antibacterial, antioxidant, excellent absorption rate into skin
  • Cajeput – (Melaleuca Leucadendra) antiseptic, antifungal, alleviates muscle and joint pain, arthritis
  • Camphor or Zhang Nao – (Cinnamomum Camphora) invigorates blood and alleviates pain; for injuries from falls, fractures, contusions, sprains and swelling
  • Cao Wu – (Radix Aconiti Kusnezoffii) alleviates pain and reduces swelling
  • Chuan Wu – (Radix Aconiti) reduces swelling and alleviates joint pain, arthritis
  • Dang Gui Wei – (Angelicae Sinensis Radix Cauda) invigorates blood, reduces swelling
  • Fu Zi – (Aconiti Radix Lateralis Preparata) alleviates pain, invigorates blood
  • Hong Hua – (Carthami Flos) invigorate blood, reduce swelling, alleviates pain
  • Menthol – (Mentha) antibacterial, alleviates pain, antipruritic
  • Mo Yao – (Commiphora Myrrha) promotes sore healing, reduce swelling, alleviates pain
  • Mu Gua – (Chaenomelis Fructus) relaxes muscles and sinews
  • Ru Xiang – (Olibanum) invigorate blood, reduce swelling and alleviates joint pain, arthritis
  • San Leng – (Sparganii Rhizoma) alleviates pain
  • San Qi – (Notoginseng Radix) stops bleeding, reduce swelling and alleviates pain
  • Su Mu – (Sappan Lignum) stops bleeding; for injuries from falls, fractures, contusions, sprains and swelling
  • Yan Hu Suo – (Corydalis Rhizoma) invigorates blood, alleviates pain

NOTE:  The Sciaticare Penetrating Muscle Rub is contraindicated for use during pregnancy.

Acupuncture and Treatment of Pain

Acupuncture has its roots in the vast, rich and exotic ancient China.  It is part of an entire medical system of care called traditional Chinese medicine, or TCM.  Although acupuncture has been in use for thousands of years in the far East, it is relatively unknown in the United States.

Acupuncture consists of tiny needles being placed in the skin to enhance the body’s own healing response.  The theory is that there are pathways, or meridians, that contain points, or nodes to stimulate the human healing process.  For instance, a certain acupuncture point may treat nausea, another point may treat hemorrhoids, and a third may treat low back pain.  The World Health Organization states that acupuncture is effective in treating musculoskeletal, dermatological, neurological, and reproductive conditions.

When it comes to pain, typical Western care can consist of physical therapy, surgery, injections, and oral medications.  These techniques can be invasive as well as interfere with the individual’s current lifestyle or beliefs.  The techniques may also produce side effects that can be as troublesome as the chief complaint.  Acupuncture, on the other hand, is a natural therapy that causes the body to release pain-killing endorphins.  It has even been proven to be as effective as certain pain relieving drugs.  A powerful pain management modality by itself, acupuncture can be used in conjunction with Western therapies or enhance other Eastern forms of medicine.  The National Center for Complementary and Alternative Medicine supports acupuncture for treating conditions such as: carpal tunnel, fibromyalgia, migraines, lumbago, menstrual cramps, and osteoarthritis.

Clinical studies continue to show correlation between acupuncture treatment and decreased pain levels.  The empirical evidence for acupuncture benefit is overwhelmingly in favor as a valuable, natural alternative to medications and sometimes surgery.  Please consult your doctor or acupuncturist to see if acupuncture can help you better manage your pain.

Cervicogenic Headaches and Migraines

What does the word cervicogenic mean?  It means ‘something that is derived from the cervical region’ and in this case cervical means neck. A cervicogenic headache or migraine (CGHM) is one where the source of the pain is thought to be in the neck, but the major pain sensation is in some portion of the head.

About 45 million people in the United States suffer from some form of periodic headache and/or migraine activity.  Those afflicted with head pain can miss days of work and give up productivity until relief is found.  Some sufferers have tried everything Western medicine has to offer to no avail.  In the medical industry, there are still disagreements as to what specific criteria allow for a definitive diagnosis of CGHM.  Therefore, there are many mixed diagnoses as well as misdiagnoses of cervicogenic headache/migraine.

Some of the signs and symptoms of a CGHM are suboccipital pain, pain in different areas of scalp, pain sensation behind eyes or sinuses, light sensitivity, sound sensitivity.  These signs and symptoms are more or less a combination of muscular tension in the neck and typical migraine symptoms.

Treatment options with Western medicine usually include some form of drug therapy such as analgesics, injections, physical therapy, and even surgery.  These types of treatments do not find the cause of the disorder, but merely treat the symptoms associated.  In doing so, things such as internal medications will probably be taken long term, possibly producing damaging side effects much worse than the offending problem.

Alternative medical treatments include acupuncture, massage therapy, chiropractic adjustments, meditation, tai chi, nutritional analysis, and herbal formulas.  The benefits for these alternative therapies is: the ability to be used in conjunction with many other forms of therapy; little or no side effect; non-invasive; can be used long term without degrading patient health.

For more information on how acupuncture and alternative therapies can help you relieve your headaches and migraines, check out the articles below:

Most alternative and complementary therapies require some commitment of time and effort on the patient’s part.  Nothing is gained without effort.  An investment in health is an investment in life.  Ask your alternative health practitioner how they can help you reach your health goals.

Massage Therapy as a Medical Treatment Option? It Should Be.

Many of us who have studied massage therapy know that massage comes in many forms and styles.  We also understand that the different types of massage can treat everything from mental/emotional conditions to physical ailments.  We respect how the various massage strokes, application of pressure, and knowledge of body physiology aid the therapist in providing relief to suffering clients.  But, even with the amount of research information available regarding massage therapy, the general public overlooks it as a powerful form of care for many health issues.

There is still a prevailing idea about massage therapy being no more than a relaxing rub down for the rich and well-to-do crowds.  In America, it is viewed largely as a luxury and much less often as a medically viable alternative to the current Western medical treatments available.  Massage therapy has been around for thousands of years and has permeated every culture and historical tradition known to man.  It is one of the very first forms of medical care.  Though today, massage has fallen to the favor of more glamorous treatments and therapies that are more “cutting-edge”, more “technologically advanced”, and “revolutionary”.

With such a vast and important role in the history of natural healthcare, why has massage therapy been overlooked as a primary medical care treatment option?  Let’s breakdown a few reasons:

1.  “Massage therapy” as a general term for bodywork…is, well, pretty vague.  It is easy for the average consumer to get lost in the world of massage therapy.  Massage therapy is a blanket term to loosely describe a form of body treatment using the laying on of hands.  We use the term massage therapy because the populous can recognize this term’s description of a technique with some physical manipulation of muscle and tissue along with the possible use of some oil or lubricating substance.  With the information available on the internet, the various styles of massage can be investigated more closely by just about anyone.  More descriptive subcategories of massage therapy (with names such as medical massage, relaxation massage, etc.) can help immensely with advertising and marketing of massage. It can more closely match the client to the style of massage that is beneficial for them.

2.  Not enough research confirming the benefits of massage.  Clinical trials, research studies, experimental treatments, must all continue to enhance the image of massage to the public.  There is always an imperative to continue learning about the many types of massage available to treat a wide array of medical conditions.  Massage therapists must be encouraged to do research as well as understand research studies.  Sharing articles and reports on massage research with friends, family, and clients will enlighten all persons involved.

3.  No time and/or money for massage.  This excuse shows that priorities are mixed up.  Health should be of utmost concern for everyone.  Poor health cannot support a busy lifestyle.  People will spend more time, effort, and money on keeping their car running optimally than their body.  The body needs upkeep and maintenance just like any other machine.  Taking care of oneself is a worthwhile investment and this takes more effort than the time it takes to fill a glass with water and swallow a pill.

4.  Doctors don’t prescribe massage.  In the current American health care system, massage is not seen as therapeutic as medication.  Massage is also considered by many Western medical personnel to be more of a maintenance/management treatment, rather than a therapeutic/healing treatment.  This is partly because of the lack of training and understanding by doctors.  But, also for some doctors, it is easier, and coincidentally more profitable to order patient x-rays, MRI’s, physical therapy, medication, and even surgery, than it is to send that patient out for massage.  Almost always, a massage plan can be a non-invasive, therapeutic adjunct to any physical pain treatment program.

5. Insurance companies don’t reimburse well for massage.  Most massage therapists don’t accept insurance.  Why?  Because, a massage therapist likely has to:  fill out lots of extra paperwork, limit the scope of their treatments according to what the insurance company dictates, fear extra litigation if proper procedures have not been followed correctly, continuously prove to insurance company that more massage treatments are necessary and beneficial.  Then, the massage therapist has to usually accept a heavily discounted reimbursement from the insurance company as payment for the “opportunity” to participate as a provider.  In short, it’s too much work and trouble for too little money.  Things could change if reimbursements to therapists were a bit higher, the scope of treatments were not so limited, and referrals were not necessary for insurance to cover massage treatments.

The idea of massage being a medical treatment option is one that should be shared by everyone.  It is every massage therapist’s duty to expound upon the benefits of massage, not only as a relaxing therapy, but also as a form of medicine.  Massage has little to no negative side effects, and can be used alongside most other forms of treatment and/or medications.  It should also be considered first when it comes to body aches and pain.  More education of massage therapists, other health practitioners, and clients is the key to widely improving the massage therapy profession, but overall health care in America as we know it.

Being Pushed Around the American Healthcare System

I’ve recently decided to look into accepting insurance patients at my office.  The reason behind doing so was not due to financial gain, as you will soon find out.  My main reason for signing up with an insurance company as a provider was to be able to share acupuncture and Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) with more individuals. My goal is to allow more patient access to the benefits of Eastern medicine and widen the acupuncture demographic profile.  But, my foray into being an “in-network” provider may be short-lived.  Please, read on.

There are still many people in the United States that don’t know about alternative healthcare and are completely in the dark when it comes to anything outside of Western medicine – “American style”.  I’m not trying to make a blanket statement for this country, but much of the general American populous wants a quick fix for their aches and troubles, and are willing to invest little more than waiting in line at the pharmacy to fill a drug prescription.  But, the main reason acupuncture hasn’t hit mainstream, is due to the fact that it isn’t yet part of the mainstream American medical model.  Most people will visit the doctors on their health insurance plan.  Even though some plans will cover acupuncture, quite a few acupuncturists will not participate as medical providers.  At the same time, insurance plans are eager to tout that they cover complementary care, yet the fine print reads that coverage is available only for a select few medical techniques and procedures. Lastly, the insurance plans are usually written to be so confusing, that many of the covered persons do not even begin to understand what medical coverage they currently pay for.

All of the HMO (Health Maintenance Organization) patients that have walked into my clinic are “last resorters”.  These are patients that have gone from physician to physician (for years) and have seen no positive results, and sometimes negative results from their healthcare.  All of the HMO patients that I’ve talked with were on some form of medication.  All of them were on at least 3 medications per day.  One patient was on 10 daily medications to help manage her condition.  (And yet, there was still no relief from her pain…which is why she was sitting in my office.)  These last resorters have been essentially circulated through the system, paying their co-pays, filling out mounds of paperwork, and spending time with their physician(s) and specialist(s).  Finally, one of the physicians or specialists waves the white flag at the patient’s confounding problem and passes said patient to “alternative” medicine, such as acupuncture.  Voila!  That very disappointed, extremely frustrated patient walks in my door.  Many times, this patient, distraught that the Western medical community couldn’t help them, is now looking for an Eastern medical miracle.

So, in front of me is today’s prospective HMO patient.  I inform them that there is a boatload of paperwork that they need to fill out.  I also tell the patient that I am only allowed to treat certain conditions under their insurance plan.  I am limited by the insurance company as to what conditions I will get reimbursed for.  (To sum up, the conditions generally accepted by insurance companies are pain, pain, and pain.) Then, I get to tell the patient that their insurance company also dictates how I can treat them.  Meaning, the insurance company decides what treatments I, the medical practitioner, can perform.  (I still don’t understand how the insurance company can possibly know what medical treatments are best for the patient.)  Lastly, if I haven’t yet scared off my possible new HMO patient, I get to tell them that the insurance company will only pay for a few minutes of my time.  My fee is capped by the insurance company and I won’t be reimbursed for anything more than approximately 30 minutes of time.  Any time spent with the patient after that WILL NOT BE PAID.

From my perspective, becoming an in-network healthcare provider, I can expect to severely discount my going rate for insurance patients.  I get to be limited in the types of treatments I can do.  This can lessen the overall effectiveness of the treatments, which can make my acupuncture and all of Chinese medicine look ineffective.  (We all know that humans have a tendency to relay a bad experience to more people than a good experience.)  Lastly, I have to keep tons of paperwork on each patient, and have to play phone tag with the insurance company to get paid if my paperwork is incorrectly filled out.

HMO’s are still available, but as you probably already know, there are a lot of healthcare providers that won’t accept HMO’s.  Why?  Because, for them, it isn’t worth their time.  Why would anyone fill their clinic with patients paying a severely discounted rate rather than their full-price counterparts?  Also, you may see a lot of new practitioners in their respective medical field accepting HMO patients.  Why?  Because these doctors are trying to build a medical practice and there are a lot of people with HMO’s that need medical care.  For the rookie doctor, seeing that HMO patient will pay off at least a tiny amount of their looming student loan.  Here’s yet another thing to think about.  And this one should really be chewed on for some time.  If a medical doctor sees an HMO patient and knows that 30 minutes is all that the insurance company will reimburse them, the doctor may only have time to diagnose a problem and give the patient a prescription.  (Pharmaceutical companies have drugs for just about every disease known.  Heck, they’ve even created some disease conditions so that they could develop drugs to treat them!)  Now, the doctor becomes nothing more than a drug pusher.  They know that too much time spent with the patient can cause them to lose money and business.  The doctor becomes bound by the hands of his insurance company.

To make a long story short, insurance companies have ruined the healthcare system.  Taking large profits, charging exorbitant amounts for insurance coverage, the insurance company giants have the financial clout to control the medical industry.  So much so, that medical providers are forced to change the way they provide medical treatments in order to make a decent living.  Patients are required to jump through hoops just to get the proper care they need.  As a healthcare provider, I’m torn between making acupuncture accessible to more people by way of insurance, and restricting my acupuncture care to those that can afford the out-of-pocket expense.  (I have bills to pay too!)  It’s still a tough decision for my clinic to make, since becoming an insurance provider indirectly feeds fuel to the already out-of-control health system fire.  There’s no easy answer to our healthcare mess. But one thing is for sure.  In the current American healthcare system, it seems that insurance companies are winning, and the care providers and patients are losing.

Hospitals are Incorporating Complementary & Alternative Medicine

Hospitals have long been seen as the purveyor of the latest and greatest that technology and medical advances have to offer.  Cutting edge procedures that move medicine forward.  The equipment used in these hospitals can dissect the structure of the human body down to cellular and molecular levels, analyze compounds, and spit out critical information on what the patient’s body is lacking or overproducing.

Even today, the modern Western medical approach has been to view the body on this cellular level.  Identify the disease, pinpoint its location in the body, and eradicate it.  For some diseases, this approach works.  Consequently, it is most valuable to disease that is localized and easily separated from the host human.  It’s limitations lie in the fact that the entire body is seen as a machine with specific, modular parts.  A part may be removed from the body, fixed, and replaced without any effect on the rest of the machine.  Disease is based on a scientifically diagnosed set of signs and symptoms and thus, treated similarly for every patient.  No distinction is made for different causes of disease, for the disease itself is to be treated, regardless of the source.

In the traditional Chinese medicine (TCM) approach, the body is an organism working synergistically.  All of the many cells, tissues, and organs work together and enhance each other’s function.  The impact of a single cell will have ripple effect throughout the entire system, no matter how small.  Viewing the body as a whole organism gives the medical professional an idea of how disease is affecting the entire body.  Then, through all of the diagnostic signs and symptoms, the root cause of the disease is sought out and the whole person is treated, not just the disease. This important difference is where TCM practitioners believe that the strength of the whole is more than the sum of its parts.  Since every patient is unique, similar diseases may be treated using different acupuncture points and herbs, etc.  The drawback here is that at times, the body may not recover from the disease without having the diseased part removed, or treated using more aggressive methods.

By combining both Eastern and Western forms of medicine, there is a larger scope of care that can be offered.  Medical treatment and healing can work on multiple levels, simultaneously from a microscopic level and a macroscopic level. High technology equipment can study and monitor the effects of a multidimensional blending of pharmaceuticals, physical therapy, acupuncture, herbs, yoga, meditation etc., to further treatment of diseases and enhance overall health.  Since there are many U.S. hospitals creating an integrative medical environment, below are a few of just the California hospitals creating a union between Eastern and Western medicine:

Scripps Center for Integrative Medicine – San Diego, CA

Osher Center for Integrative Medicine – San Francisco, CA

Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine – Irvine, CA

Stanford Center for Integrative Medicine – Palo Alto, CA

Why Doesn’t My Acupuncturist Take Insurance?

So, you’re pretty excited that your insurance plan covers acupuncture. You’ve never had it, but you’ve heard great things about all of the disorders that acupuncture can treat. Besides, it’s natural medicine and hopefully acupuncture will help you reduce the amount of medications you are currently taking. You decide that this New Year, you want to give it a shot. So, you get online and look for some acupuncturists in your area. You find 5 of them within a 10 mile radius. After calling each and every one of them, you find out that none of them accept your insurance. In fact, none of the acupuncturists accept any insurance.  How can this be?

Well, let’s go through some of the reasons why your acupuncturist may not accept insurance.

1.  Insurance billing is tedious.

Your acupuncturist may be a sole proprietor. They are wearing many hats, trying to be an acupuncturist, accountant, inventory manager, advertising & marketing person, etc. Learning to bill insurance requires time, money, and patience. Insurance companies do not make it easy for doctors to get reimbursed through insurance. In fact, there are vocational schools that offer a 3-12 month certification programs just for medical insurance billing.

Also, insurance companies will not reimburse the acupuncturist/doctor/etc. if there is an error in the form submitted to them.  The incorrect form is noted by the insurance company and set aside.  Nothing happens until the doctor calls to ask why he/she has not been reimbursed. The acupuncturist must stay on top of all of the forms submitted to make sure he/she gets properly paid from the insurance company. Of course, on the flip side, if insurance billing is done correctly, the time spent here may be minimized. Overall, adding insurance to an acupuncture practice requires another set of obstacles and concerns that your acupuncturist may not want to take on.

2.  Insurance companies don’t reimburse very well.

Insurance companies want to pay out as little as possible. They are a for-profit company and they want to keep their margins up. They will pay what they consider to be “normal and customary”. Many times, what the insurance company thinks is normal and customary is less than what the acupuncturist must charge to keep their doors open for business.

Consider that across all medical fields insurance is reducing the reimbursement. Doctors are getting paid less for their patient care. Combine minimal reimbursement with the requirement of additional clinical charting and billing paperwork and you have a situation that many acupuncturists would rather avoid than embrace.

3.  Insurance companies limit coverage for the health problems they believe acupuncture can treat.

Health insurance companies control and limit access to your options for health care. They restrict your ability to make health care decisions on your own. They will only pay for what they believe is “medicine”. Your insurance company may be opening its benefits to include acupuncture because they want a piece of the $34 billion out-of-pocket money that Americans are  putting towards alternative healthcare. But, most insurance companies will not cover your acupuncture visit unless it falls into one of these categories:  chronic back pain, migraines, morning sickness from pregnancy, postoperative nausea from chemotherapy or temporomandibular joint (TMJ) pain.  (Please check with your insurance company’s acupuncture policy for further information.)

Some acupuncturists do not like the fact that insurance companies state that acupuncture treatments for conditions outside of their coverage is considered “experimental”. Many licensed acupuncturists (LAc’s) believe that insurance companies should not be the ones controlling health care options for the consumer. By the acupuncturist accepting health insurance, they believe that they are supporting the insurance companies along with the inept health care system and only adding fuel to the already out-of-control fire.

Of course, the health insurance issue is a complex one. Health insurance companies have taken control of how health is seen and treated in America. Prices are exorbitant because of a profit-at-all-costs mentality.  Now, the ballooning American health care system is viewed as grossly incompetent. Since money is the motivating factor for things to really change in this industry, it is up to the consumer to spend their money wisely. Consumers must put their money towards the things they want. By seeking out acupuncture for more of your conditions, consumers are voting for acupuncture to play a larger part in American health care.

Many acupuncturists believe that acupuncture can treat a wide variety of disorders and should not be limited.  You, the consumer, have already gotten acupuncture into the insurance companies’ collective mind.  The progress towards acceptance has begun to show on insurance policies.

Another thing that you, the consumer, can do is to ask your insurance company why some of your acupuncture treatments are not covered by them.  And keep asking.  If you want to see more acupuncturists accepting insurance, you must speak with your voice as well as with your dollars. When the insurance companies see where your money is going and hear what you want your insurance policy to cover, they will expand their coverage for more acupuncture-treatable conditions on their policies.  They will make it easier for acupuncturists to become an in-network provider and seamlessly support you, the customer.  You will start to have more health care options, more acupuncturists will begin to accept insurance, and you will feel better about the money you spend on your health care policy.

What a Pain in the A*s!

I recently went out to breakfast with my wife, brother-in-law and a friend.  We all slid into the booth and, like usual, I emptied the pockets of my jeans and loaded my keys, phone, and wallet onto my corner of the restaurant table.  To which my brother-in-law, Chris gasped in horror at my leather billfold.

He was absolutely floored at the size of my wallet.  Sitting a portly 3/4″ high on the table, the object of discussion gathered our attention.  Thinking I was wealthy beyond Derek Jeter proportions, I quickly assuaged my brother-in-law’s mind by emptying all 3 bills from it.  Total = $16.  Obviously, the next question that arose was “What the heck do you have in that wallet?”

Perplexed firstly by the fact that I never really noticed the sheer mass of it, I was even more perplexed to the fact that I’d been carrying around this bulging mass of leather for ages and I didn’t know what was inside.

“Well, let’s see…” and I proceeded to pull out random stuff from the wallet.  Supermarket club cards, college alumni cards, credit cards, library cards, insurance cards, old receipts, etc.  Some of the cards were 2 years expired and I was still lugging the useless plastic around for giggles.

The funny thing is that I, being a primary care physician, know that back-pocket wallets can be a precursor to a literal pain in the ass.  Continued sitting with a wallet in the back pocket can cause things like sciatic nerve impingement leading to sharp, shooting leg pain.  It can also cause low back pain from the ipsilateral lumbar muscles shortening in compensation for the left-to-right difference in ischial tuberosity heights while sitting.  Another complication could be irritation and twisting of the sacroiliac joint possibly changing the pelvic angle.

Luckily, I have had no back pain due to my wallet’s thickness.  Still, I have put my wallet on a diet and I’m exercising it down to a slim trim 3/8″.  I now leave the little used cards in my car with a rubber band safely holding them all together for when the need arises.

So do yourself a favor.  If you carry a wallet in your back pocket that is more than 3/8″ thick and you suffer from low back pain or sciatica, try moving the wallet to your front pocket for a couple of months.  See if the low back pain and/or gluteal pain subsides.  Or, get a money clip.  Try carrying only the things that you need to.  Store important card membership numbers in your phone.  At the worst case with a wallet in your front pocket, you won’t have to worry about another pain in the ass, pickpockets.

Curious About Whether Your Insurance Covers Acupuncture Treatments?

Consumers are still learning about whether or not acupuncture is covered under their insurance plan.  Of course, the insurance coverage game is always changing, so please check with your insurance provider for the most up-to-date information.

Here’s a great webpage that answers some of the concerns of the average consumer that may be looking for their acupuncture visits to be covered through their insurance.