I ask group members regularly what topics they would like me to share about, “how to save money on physical therapies” was the top request on the last post where I asked for suggestions. So here I share how you can spend less money on physical treatments for chronic pain and strategies for decreasing your pain at the same time.
What a whopper! As soon as I read the comment, I was formulating ideas. As a person who has tried physiotherapists (many different ones), Eastern practitioners, massage therapists, osteopaths, chiropractors, personal trainers (who did not get it) and more, I know the costs involved here. We run a public system here in New Zealand so none of these private physical treatments are funded at all.
When I was at my worst I was going weekly, paying $50 or $60 a session to very little benefit. As I have finally put these things into place I have reduced to three or four weekly – this is a saving of $150-200 per month! That adds up!
These are the things that you can do to reduce the amount of treatments you need from physical therapists (physiotherapists, massage therapists, osteopaths, chiropractors, etc.). If they are not necessarily easy, when are they ever?
The four ways of how to spend less on physical treatments for chronic pain
1. Remove or reduce the things that perpetuate the physical issue the physiotherapist/massage therapist/chiropractor etc. has to work on.
This might be a tough one as you may not be willing or able to do the things. For example, working full-time on a computer really exacerbates my neck and shoulders. I cannot, no matter the steps I take to mitigate it, experience less pain and keep doing it. Do you engage in something that aggravates your tricky spots? Is your bed and pillow correct for your needs? Check your breathing!
Let yourself brainstorm as there might be lots of things that come up.
2. Work on the whole of life things
So a lot of our physical issues are related to our overall health. When the fibromyalgia was worse, I needed to see the physical therapists for in search of relief (which never came).
When I changed my entire life – reducing work hours, cutting my commute, moving to a warmer climate, learning to rest (and later meditate), gentle exercise (which for me meant cutting back!) etc. – the amount I needed to see the physical reduced.
3. Finding the right treatment
This alone halved how often I had to go. For severe, recurrent trigger points in my neck – for which I’ve spent at least $1500 per year for over 10 years trying to get some relief from – I have the right practitioner and treatment at last. It’s a physiotherapist who places acupuncture needles into the trigger point, leaves it to relax and then performs gentle traction and stretches. The amount of time and money I spent on massage therapists, physiotherapists, osteopathy and chiropractic is insane.
Ask yourself, does that massage or chiropractic session actually help enough to justify the cost? Does the benefit hold long enough to be justifiable?
4. Learn to do things yourself
This might be the most important and the easiest!
For me, this is copious amounts of stretching/yoga.
I can show you how to “do yoga” in Foundations of Yoga for Chronic Pain and Fatigue, this is a four week beginners course especially for people who have tried the whole stretching and yoga thing and found it near impossible! It is an actual dream come true to be able to share these tools, that have helped me so much, with others.
Hack: for mindful movement designed especially for people with chronic pain and fatigue, you can join me in the Yoga and Meditation for the Chronic Life. This is my virtual mindful movement studio where I pilfer from the tools of various modalities that help me so that they can become part of your toolkit. Each month you get a new class designed especially for chronic pain and fatigue fighters, a pose breakdown and a meditation. In addition – for the month of January to celebrate the first members I am offering the Fibromyalgia 101 micro course series (six micro courses on the key areas of fighting fibromyalgia that is worth $69) for free!
Meditation is also helpful, especially guided meditations for pain relief and relaxation. You’ve heard me talk about this for years. Insight timer free app.
I also use a Theracane trigger point massager and foam roller. You could self-massage or buy a personal massage aid. This post talks about inexpensive items I use to fight chronic pain.
Always ask a practitioner you see to give you suggestions for things you can do at home and DO them.
So these are my top four ways to spend less on physical treatments (and reduce your pain at the same time). Are you working on any of these areas? What is your favourite way to cope with physical pain?