Health insurance covers acupuncture for knee osteoarthritis

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Acupuncture in the case of knee osteoarthritis can possibly be billed to the health insurers as a benefit.

Under certain circumstances, acupuncture for knee osteoarthritis or back pain can be submitted to a resident doctor with additional training as a benefit from a statutory health insurance company. This is pointed out by the Independent Patient Counseling Service in Germany (UPD).

However, health insurers are not always ready to cover the costs. The costs are only covered if the back pain is chronic or at least one knee is affected by osteoarthritis. Chronic in this case means when the pain persists for six months. In addition, you cannot have the treatment carried out by a regular alternative practitioner, but only by a doctor with proven further training in the field of medical acupuncture. Treatment with up to ten sessions each must be carried out within six weeks, as the independent patient advice service announced. In justified exceptions, some health insurance companies also make an exception and allow a therapy duration of 12 weeks. However, only a total of 15 acupuncture sessions are allowed. Follow-up treatment is possible again after a year at the earliest. It is important that the treatment has been previously agreed with the health insurance company and prescribed by a doctor.

Acupuncture has been shown to be effective in chronic pain.
The exact circumstances why acupuncture helps with back ailments have not yet been fully researched. However, scientists assume that endorphins are released by setting the needles. These endorphins ("happiness hormones") in turn inhibit the pain and let the symptoms subside. In addition, the serotonin level rises significantly, which, as an impulse transmitter, also controls the sensation of pain in the brain from one nerve cell to another.

Acupuncture is extremely effective, which conventional medicine has now recognized. There are no improvements in only ten percent of the patients. In 70 percent of those affected, the pain subsides when the needles are inserted. If the patient suffers from acute pain, acupuncture results in a treatment success of over 80 percent. Acupuncture is not only effective for back pain and neck tension, but also for example for depression. (sb)

Also read:
Acupuncture helps with pain
Acupuncture effective for pregnancy depression
New study: acupuncture effective in the brain?

Image: Sabine Weisse,

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