Is Corrective Exercise Covered by Insurance?

Is Corrective Exercise Covered by Insurance?

Educating people about the profound effects and empowering simplicity of a corrective exercise program is the best job in the whole world!  Everyday I get to help my clients learn that their bodies have an innate capability to heal when you give it just half a chance.  


When you partner with a professional who knows how to identify the ROOT CAUSE of a chronic muscle/joint pain related problem, problems like back, neck, knee and sciatica can easily be alleviated.


I got a lot of positive responses and questions from folks after my post Can Corrective Exercise Eliminate Sciatica Pain? was published.   One question in particular kept popping up.


"Does insurance cover the cost of Corrective Exercise or Posture Alignment Therapy?"


Is Corrective Exercise Covered by Insurance?


I'm so sad to say this, but NO.  Insurance does not cover corrective exercise programming like posture alignment therapy.  However, more and more Health Savings Accounts do reimburse for appointments, so that is an option you can check into with your HSA, and we gladly provide you the receipts you need for reimbursement.  


However, I hate to just leave the topic right there.  Perhaps it's best to give you some background and comparison.  


Corrective exercise programming is profoundly effective at eliminating common chronic pain symptoms due to musculoskeletal imbalances and joint dysfunctions.  This success is due to the fact that we do not practice a symptomatic approach to pain management like traditional western medicine.  Instead, we look for the root cause, or origin of why your joints and muscles are causing the pain.  


I consider all of our therapeutic modalities such as corrective exercise, posture alignment therapy, Pilates and other SMR (self-myofascial release) to be a "preventative and longterm healthcare" program.  As such, the cost of sessions absolutely pales in comparison to traditional medical care and insurance covered modalities.  


However, when a preventative and effective service is not covered by insurance, people get blinded by the sticker price.


The problem?  

The whole cost vs benefit equation doesn't get factored in.


In my opinion, people really don't have a good idea of what the real cost of medical services is when insurance covers the bill.  Unfortunately, the way our healthcare system is set up, the actual costs of services are hidden away from view and rarely discussed.  As long as it's covered by insurance, we tend to tune out and forego any cost-benefit analysis.  


I discussed it in a recent post discussion on my Facebook page:


#CorrectiveExercise is #preventative #healthcare. One of the most common questions/complaints about posture alignment therapy that I receive is "Are your services covered by insurance?"   

No, it isn't.  But before you walk away,   I'd like to encourage you to do some math and figure out for yourself if the cost of a series of appointments & corrective exercise menus is worth investing in when you compare it to the cost of a typical medical procedure that can often be avoided with #corrective exercise. 

Example: #Laminectomy Surgery (source Healthbase):  

1. Average cost of #laminectomy surgery is $23,000 to $35,000 without insurance. 
2. Hospital stays $500 to $1,500 a day. Average stay? 3 days.
3. Pain medication required (prescription costs vary)
 4. Factor in the cost of time taken off of work
 5. May have physical therapy prescribed  

You should also factor in all of the time, appointments and other treatment options you invested in prior to needing to have the surgery   

Then there's the issue of your monthly health insurance cost, out-of-pocket/network expenses and the probability that your premiums may now go up.

Problem:  surgery may have isolated the symptom, and mechanically created a solution for now.  However, it did not address the root cause of why you needed the surgery in the first place.  Your musculo-skeletal imbalances are still there in your body, and you have just gone through a long period of little or no activity.  You'll still be bringing dysfunctional motor patterns into your habits of daily living which causes repetitive stress to your musculo-skeletal system.  You are just as likely to have a new pain occur, or not get the kind of pain relief you were hoping to get from the surgical intervention.

Estimated Cost? $35,000 to $55,000  (and this does not take into account the cost of all the other treatments, products and modalitis and time you've invested in prior to to the point of having the surgery take place).


Example: #Chiropractic Care (source ArticleBase)  

Chiropractic care for sciatica is certainly helpful and there are many studies showing their efficacy.  

"The study in "Journal of Manipulative and Physiological Therapeutics" reported "sixty percent of patients with sciatica who had failed other medical management benefited from spinal manipulation to the same degree as if they underwent surgical intervention."1 Further, surgery for sciatica can cost up to $25,000 and involves the risks associated with invasive surgery. When compared to the average 21 chiropractic sessions at $100 ($2,100) to treat sciatica, this is a savings of $22,900.2

The researchers concluded that spinal manipulations performed by a chiropractor proved to be an effective and cost efficient treatment for sciatica. Patients with sciatica due to a herniated disk should consider treatment by a chiropractor before surgery. Chiropractic manipulations have proven to successfully relieve sciatica without the need for surgery in many instances. For patients that do need to proceed with surgery, the study found that patients who delayed surgical treatment and tried chiropractic care first experienced no negative effects."

Problem:  While chiropractic is certainly effective, you will have to do a treatment course of bi-to-tri weekly appointments, factor in the time and the co-pay.  In general there is no follow-up with at home corrective programming.

So yes the cost is reduced (average cost $2,100), but it's improtant to remember that "bones will go where muscles tell them to".  If you are routinely getting adjustments to isolate a pain source without  correcting the root cause of why the sciatica pain occurred in the first place, it is at best another symptomatic apporach to the issue.  

There is no doubt you wil feel better from chiropractic care, but there is also a high likelihood that the probelm will return again at some point so why not invest in eliminating the root cause?

 Example:  #Postural Therapy or  #CorrectiveExercise
 Cost varies depending on each person's independent practice. Here at Pain Free Posture MN, I charge $175.00 in person for an initial evaluation, posture & gait analysis, posture photos, creating and teaching a corrective menu.  You'll spend approximately 2 hours with me, and I am available to you for follow-up care and coaching.  

Follow-up appointments are $100.00/session for a new corrective exercise programming menu and instruction.  We also have options where you can come in for a simple menu review and coaching without the new menu generation for half that cost. 

We also offer Skype appointments for ($100/session) for those that can't come in but still want to do postural therapy and basic online menu generation for $75.00/menu.

Most clients do 5-8 menus to start, and continue on with follow-up sessions for maintenance on a monthly/bi-monthly basis to begin with, then transition to only scheduling 3-4x/year for a posture re-evaluation and a new menu generation.

No hospital stay

No Pain medication 

No weekly or bi-weekly appointments for multiple weeks 

Menus mitigate pain and increase mobility right away 

Corrective Exercise Menus are done in your free time during the day (no time off work) 

Minimial equipment is required.  To maximize your corrective exercise menus, clients may choose to purchase tools to facilitate their menus (total $350.00 max), but they can be done without.  NOTE:  I personally recommend that clients invest in the right equipment - it really does make a huge difference!  

Average cost for 8 sessions including equipment?  $900 to $1,200.00 

Problem:  you have to do your exercises on you own at home.  You get out of the program what you put into it.  You don't do your exercises, you aren't making a proactive change in your postural habits and motor mechanics.

Benefit?  If you put in the time, you are proactively taking control of your health and body.  Your corrective exercise menus are designed to bring your body back into balance, eliminate dysfunctional motor patterns which caused the pain and improve your performance of activities of daily living and fitness on your own, without time off or any other additional costs.

Plus you now have "tools in your tool-box", meaning you have a series of menus you can pull out to use in the future to keep your body in balance.  You'll learn how to read your body's signals, and know when to implement them again for years to come.


You can do the math!  But why listen to me?  Here's Ann's testimonial of what postural therapy has done for her. 

So no, corrective exercise programming is not covered by insurance, and that truly is a shame.  But it is what it is, and I can personally assure you, that if you invest in your health and take a proactive and empowering approach to balance out your body, it will yield a pain free and active lifestyle that in the long term costs you far less when all totaled up.  And that's PRICELESS!

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Stock Photo Credit:

Head Photo Credit:  Melissa Thome Photography

Author:  Deb Preachuk is a Certified Foundation Training & STOTT Pilates Instructor, Corrective Exercise & Posture Alignment Specialist, and the founder/owner of Pain Free Posture MN.   

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