As of this month, Medicare will no longer be paying for tens units. The agency made the decision recently after a panel look at the existing research on the technology which found some evidence to support it but a lot that did not prove its effectiveness.
Unfortunately, what this decision does is ignore a lot of years the patient and physician anecdotal great experience. TENS units are about the size of an iPod and are able to fit on a patient’s belt, acting as
a low risk method for pain reduction. A TENS device has the potential to decrease the need for opiate medications, while emitting slight electrical impulses through the skin which can alter the way a person’s brain perceives pain signals.
Using a TENS unit intermittently throughout the day can help decrease of persons back or neck pain, and also help with postoperative pain as well. There are many uses for a tens unit. While CMS was considering this decision over 10,000 people signed an online petition in favor of tens units. This included both patients and physicians.
Said David Greene, CEO of the Florida Pain Network, “I understand that the CMS likes to practice evidence-based medicine for its clinical coverage decisions. However, in this age of increasing opiate abuse and the potential decreased need for narcotics while a TENS unit is being used, it might be more prudent to continue coverage until the large scale clinical trials underway are completed.”
One of the caveats with the CMS decision was that coverage will still be continued for those patients with a TENS unit or part of a clinical trial. It is unfortunate that the CMS decided to make this decision prior to existing research is completed, but the good news is that the cost of a TENS unit has dropped considerably over the last 10 years. For now, commercial payers will still continue to cover the units that may follow the CMS decision over the next year.
If you live in Florida and are suffering from either acute or chronic pain, a TENS unit may help you considerably. Due to the fact that is a low-cost option, seeking treatment with a chiropractic doctor or a pain management doctor can help you avoid chronic pain and get back to living the life you want.
Floridapainnetwork.com has listings for Florida pain management doctors and chiropractors around the state. Simply click on the type of doctor you need and the closest to you will show up right away. Or you may simply call 877-877-8556 for assistance.