Happy Sunlight!

Happy Summer! Happy Sunlight!

When I was kid, way back in the 1970’s and 80’s, I used to lay out in the sun covered in Baby Oil with lemon juice in my hair.  I was a sun goddess.  When I got older, I was a lifeguard and a swim team coach.  When it came time to work indoors during the summer months, I thought I’d die without my sun exposure.  Fast forward a decade or two and this whole skin cancer scare came about.  We started covering ourselves up with the highest SPF we could find, only to learn that all that SPF wasn’t good for us either.  As the pendulum swings and returns back to center, we now know that there has to be a decent balance of getting sunlight to create Vitamin D, but not too much that it causes skin cancer.

I’m sure everyone has seen the 100’s of uses or benefits of coconut oil floating around on your Facebook feed or on the internet.  I use pure coconut oil for everything from giving massages to cooking.  My favorite use of coconut oil is to use it as a sunscreen.  About 10 years ago, I slathered myself up with coconut oil and laid out in the sun, much like I had done as a kid, and hoped I would I have a nice tan after several hours.  NOPE!  Not one shade of golden beauty came through because of how effective the coconut oil was at blocking the sun.  Now, when I make my annual trip to the beach, I slather on the coconut oil before leaving the hotel room, while the rest of my family chooses to use a commercial sunscreen product.  Guess who doesn’t have that painful burn after day one at the beach?  You guessed it, ME.  I still had the tan shine through simply because I spend the majority of my time in the water.  The key, however, is to RE-APPLY every time you come out of the water.  If you don’t re-apply, you can still burn.  This is true of your favorite sunscreen products as well.

So, for a natural sun protectant, consider using coconut oil.  Don’t forget to re-apply.  Allow yourself at least 15 minutes per day of the morning sun to stimulate your body’s natural Vitamin D.  Most importantly, enjoy your summer vacation!

Sprain, Strain, Pelvic Pain

Doc! I can’t move.  I can’t get out of bed. I can’t even get in the car!”  When the pain is so bad that it hurts to turn over in bed, or changing positions from sitting to stand, or even laying down to sitting up, it’s time to seek professional help.

Low back pain and pelvic pain tend to go together.  A strain is what happens to the muscles or tendons when they are pulled or stretched to extreme measures.  A sprain is what happens to ligaments when they have been stretched beyond their limit.  Pain happens with both.  The muscles in your hips and low back contract so hard in an attempt to stabilize the hurt area, whether it’s in your lumbar/low back region or your pelvic region and hips.  Your core muscles (pelvic floor muscles, rectus abdominus, transverse abdominus) suddenly go offline and become weak in order to protect you from doing further harm.  The brain and your nervous system find many different ways to do the same job that your core muscles were supposed to be doing.

Now, simple tasks such as turning over in bed or going from sitting to standing become much more difficult. Pain is your body’s way of saying something is wrong.  You don’t have to figure out what is wrong, but your chiropractor, massage therapist or doctor will figure that out for you.

Remember, the type of professional from whom you seek treatment will always suggest the treatment based on their profession.  So, if you go to a medical doctor, you will likely be prescribed pain medicine or a muscle relaxer.  If you go to an orthopedist, you may be told you need surgery.  If you go to the chiropractor, we will suggest adjustments, massage therapy, physiotherapy and therapeutic exercises.

In the case mentioned above, you may be given a Trochanter Belt to wear for a few days.  This special kind of belt is worn below the waist and just at the level of where the femur attaches to the pelvis.    You will wear this for approximately five days, 24/7, except when bathing or bathroom time.  The belt acts as a support so the surrounding muscles don’t have to overwork into spasm.  Depending on the injury, your chiropractor may lessen or extend your time in the belt.

Once your low back or pelvic injury is healed, keep the trochanter belt around for times when you know you’ll be pulling a heavy load or doing a lot of walking. Be sure you re-learn how to activate those muscles that neurologically went off-line and learn how to move with proper bio-mechanics to avoid further injury or relapse.

If you would like a consultation for your back pain, you can text, call or email Dr. Seebacher.  Crawl-ins are welcome too.  Dr. Seebacher has created a FUSION of chiropractic, therapeutic massage and therapeutic exercise to help reduce pain and restore function to your life.

Medicare + Chiropractic Benefits

In a recent post, we discussed chiropractic benefits with health insurance.  Now we will look at chiropractic benefits with Medicare.

In the state of Georgia, the Medicare part B annual deductible is $187.  The co-payment for Medicare is approximately $40.  All that this covers is the spinal manipulation.  It does not cover extremity adjusting or any physio-therapeutics or health history and exam.  Once the Medicare patient has met their deductible (about 4-5 visits), the patient then pays a 20% co-insurance, so their cost is approximately $8.00 per visit.  As with regular insurance, this is limited to approximately 20 visits per year and must be for acute care only.  Maintenance care is not covered by Medicare.

Should the patient need more than 20 visits, or choose to pay for extra services that are not covered, such as massage or ultrasound, the patient can then elect to sign an ABN – Advanced Beneficiary Notice, where they choose to self-pay and still have Medicare billed; or self-pay and choose not to bill Medicare.

The challenge here is that by the time a person reaches age 65, most of their joints have degenerated, whether spinal or extremity (knees, hips, etc).  Rarely is there a new injury, but rather an acute flare-up of an old injury that needs care.  It took 65 years for the body to wear down at this point, rarely will there be lasting results with only 3 – 4 weeks of care.  This is the number one reason chiropractors state they do not accept Medicare because of limitations in care and such low reimbursement rate for the limited length of time we are allowed to treat a person.  Here’s a little secret… the chiropractor does not have the option to not accept Medicare patients.  (Lightning bolts are now soaring through the sky to shoot me down for telling this trade secret!)

When I worked at Wellstar Healthplace as a massage therapist and yoga instructor, I would recommend chiropractic care to the over 65 population. Their biggest complaint was that they could not find a chiropractor who would accept Medicare benefit assignment.  I promised then, before becoming a chiropractor, that I would offer chiropractic care to the Medicare population because I firmly believe that everyone needs chiropractic care.  We have more people over the age of 65 alive now than ever before in history.  Blessedly so, these Baby Boomers are even more active now than they ever have been in history.  It is a joy for me as a chiropractor to be able to help a grandmother be able to sit on the floor with her grandchildren and be able to play without pain or the fear of getting up from the floor.

If you have further questions about insurance and chiropractic, you need to first reference your insurance company about your personal policy.  Each policy is uniquely different.  You have to ask specifically about chiropractic benefits.  Once you understand your benefits, then you can ask your chiropractor how to best work within the guidelines to have your chiropractic needs met.  I wish I could say that 20 visits per year will be enough for that low back strain you have after doing intense yardwork over the weekend, but sometimes, that is not the case.  Your aches and pains did not happen overnight (unless you had a sudden traumatic injury) and neither will the best chiropractic care cure that pain overnight.  Be sure to check in for other blog posts about chiropractic care and healing times.