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Article / Did You Know? #10

Did You Know? #10.

Your back pain may cost you more than you think.

You use your back for everything in life: when you get up from bed, when you drive your truck, when you walk to your jobsite and, more obviously, when you carry that 2x4 up four flights of stairs. If you have bad posture, or lift inappropriately, this can lead to inflammation and injury. Further, if your back is out of alignment, the misalignment could cause radiating pain into your shoulders or down your legs, even headaches, depending on where this pain originates in your back. This pain can be life-altering in many ways.

Your body
Construction work is hard on the body and it can definitely take a toll. That's no surprise to any union member. So, how do you maintain a strong, healthy body that you can depend on to do what you need it to do?
  1. Check your posture - all the time. If you lift inappropriately, it takes just one time to cause an injury that requires physician intervention.
  2. Regular chiropractic adjustments are beneficial to keep your back in alignment and prevent injury.
  3. If you have existing back pain, talk to your doctor about a physical therapy referral to help you learn how to alter your movements to try to eliminate your pain and strengthen your weaker muscles.
  4. Eat right! Literally you are what you eat. If you feed yourself fast food regularly or eat highly processed food-like substances as part of your daily menu, you are likely creating a haven for inflammation throughout your body. Eat foods that naturally reduce inflammation to help you stay feeling good and reduce overall joint and body pain.
Your wallet
Back pain can also be hard on your wallet if you don't take care of your body and listen to its signals. While regular maintenance for back pain comes with a small price tag, ignoring back pain can lead to more significant injury and thus greater cost. For example, using Healthcare Bluebook, the Fair Price for back surgery (Laminectomy) is $8,660 in the St. Louis area. Conversely, the Fair Price for a chiropractic adjustment (spine) is $49, while the Fair Price for an initial physical therapy consultation (first visit) is $179 and physical therapy evaluation follow-ups (spine) are $121 per visit. Quite the contrast in what will ultimately come from your wallet - either directly, or through your health plan spending.

Your life
We all know that when we are in pain, life is harder. Back pain can limit your activities, both on-the-job and at home. If you are skipping activities with friends or family, or turning down jobs because your body can't handle the movement required, it's time for a check-up.

Fortunately, your health plan has several resources for you and your back pain. Active members (non-Medicare) can and should do any of the following:
  1. Carpenters Wellness Center is accepting new patients. We recommend making your initial visit with the medical providers first, so they can give you a full evaluation and determine your best first step. Call 314.955.WELL (9355) to schedule an appointment. 
  2. Visit your doctor, or find an in-network physician on myCigna.com. Your physician can make a referral based on the evaluation of your pain and symptoms to a provider that will best meet your needs.
  3. Make an appointment with a health coach through Cigna's Lifestyle Management Program. Call 866.417.7848 to schedule an appointment with a coach today.

As always, you can always call Cigna One Guide at 800.244.6224 to speak to a representative about the best options available to you.