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CostHelper > Health & Personal Care  > Orthopedics and Injuries > Pain Management

Pain Management Cost


How Much Does Pain Management Cost?

 
low costOver-the-Counter Treatments: $5-$25average costPain Program: $195-$225+ Per Office Visithigh costSurgery: $100-$27,000+
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Unlike acute pain, which lasts for a little while, chronic pain can persist for months or years. According to the American Academy of Pain Medicine[1] , it can be triggered by an injury or infection, or an ongoing cause such as cancer, but sometimes occurs even without evidence of bodily damage. Common complaints include migraines, back pain and arthritis pain. Most patients will undergo a lengthy process of trial and error before finding the right treatment.

Typical costs:

  • For mild, shorter-term pain, a doctor may recommend over-the-counter drugs such as Acetaminophen[2] and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as ibuprofen[3] which cost about $5-$25, depending on the quantity and whether the patient buys a name brand or its generic equivalent.
  • Prescription medications for ongoing, severe pain can include anticonvulsants[4] , such as carbamazepine (Tegretol), $53 for 30, 100 mg capsules at drugstore.com; antidepressants[5] like Amitriptyline, $12 for 30, 10 mg tablets; and opiate pain relievers[6] , like hydrocodone (Norco, Vicodin), $18 for 30, 325 mg tablets.
  • A physician may refer a patient to a pain center[7] , in which a team of health professionals create a treatment plan, typically incorporating different disciplines. According to Marketdata Enterprises, a market-research firm, the average cost of a pain program is $4,873. Fees are based on the procedures involved and complexity of the problem. At Florida Medical Pain Relief Center[8] the initial consultation is $225, but required monthly office visit costs $195 each, and additional treatments may be needed. Many health plans will at least partly cover treatment at pain centers, but usually after conventional methods, such as drug treatment, have failed, among other restrictions.
  • According to the book Chronic Pain Management[9] , after medication, surgery is the most common treatment for persistent pain. For example, 31,000 lumbar surgeries are performed each year primarily to alleviate pain, at an estimated cost of $27,577 per patient. For insured patients, out-of-pocket costs for surgery typically consist of a specialist copay, possibly a hospital copay of $100 or more, and coinsurance of 10% to 50%.
  • Devices used to fight chronic pain range in cost. Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulators[10] , battery-operated units connected to the skin that emit electrical impulses to block pain signals , typically cost $100 or more. Surgically implanted devices that deliver medication and are usually considered an option only when other methods fail, typically cost $27, 577 -$55,134, according to Chronic Pain Management[11] . Many health insurers cover these treatments but only if patients meet certain criteria.
  • Physical therapy or cognitive behavioral therapy may help patients cope with symptoms. For uninsured patients, physical therapy typically costs $50 -$350 or more per session, while a one-hour session of cognitive behavioral therapy typically starts at $125 and can cost more than $250. For insured patients, out-of-pocket costs for these therapies typically include a copay of $10 -$75 per session or coinsurance of 10%-50% or more.
Related articles: Acupuncture, Annual Physical, Health Insurance

What should be included:
  • During an initial consultation[12] , a doctor will review the patient's medical history. He or she may also conduct a physical examination, a psychosocial evaluation, or order tests. After a working diagnosis is established, treatment options will be discussed. Periodic follow-up may be needed.
Additional costs:
  • Many chronic pain sufferers try acupuncture for relief. Though it's considered promising, research[13] , on its efficacy has been inconclusive. Acupuncture typically costs $75 to $95 for an initial visit.
Discounts:
  • Discount outlets often sell prescription and over-the-counter drugs for less. Walmart, for example, has a prescription drug program[14] that includes certain generic drugs at commonly prescribed dosages.
  • Many pain clinics offer discounts to uninsured/cash-paying patients. At Fort Walton Pain Center[15] in Fort Walton, FL, patients who pay in cash are offered a 35% discount.
Shopping for pain management:
  • The Commission on Accreditation of Rehabilitation Facilities offers a database of accredited pain treatment facilities[16] .
Material on this page is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice. Always consult your physician or pharmacist regarding medications or medical procedures.
 
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External Resources:
  1.  www.painmed.org/patient/facts.html#chronic
  2.  www.cvs.com/shop/product-detail/Tylenol-Extra-Strength-Pain-RelieverFever-Reducer-500-m...
  3.  www.walgreens.com/store/c/walgreens-ibuprofen-tablets/ID=prod3945725-product
  4.  www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/anticonvulsants-for-chronic-pain#ty7636
  5.  www.webmd.com/pain-management/tricyclic-antidepressants-for-chronic-pain#ty6870
  6.  www.webmd.com/pain-management/opioid-analgesics-for-chronic-pain#ty6796
  7.  www.webmd.com/pain-management/guide/pain-clinics-overview
  8.  www.paincenters.com/services_costs_and_fees.html
  9.  www.amazon.com/Chronic-Pain-Management-Multidisciplinary-ebook/dp/B004F9PSUY
  10.  www.webmd.com/back-pain/guide/electrothermal-therapy
  11.  www.amazon.com/Chronic-Pain-Management-Multidisciplinary-ebook/dp/B004F9PSUY
  12.  www.webmd.com/pain-management/tc/chronic-pain-exams-and-tests
  13.  nccam.nih.gov/health/acupuncture/acupuncture-for-pain.htm#use
  14.  www.walmart.com/cp/1078664
  15.  www.fortwaltonpaincenter.com/payment/
  16.  www.carf.org/providerSearch.aspx
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