Community Acupuncture as an affordable option for concussion symptom management
Acupuncture has recently gained legitimacy in the eyes of western medical providers and is being used by the United States Department of Defense, while Veterans Administration health coverage and New Zealand’s government-owned insurance company both cover acupuncture for pain management.
However, if acupuncture isn’t covered by your medical insurance it can be notoriously costly, especially as most practitioners advise treatments at least twice a week for patients in the healing stage. These treatments last an hour and can cost between $75-100. Thankfully, there is a relatively new way to get affordable acupuncture treatment in the $20-50 range. Community Acupuncture centers have emerged in North America and, to a lesser extent, around the world. The People’s Organization of Community Acupuncture (POCA) is a group that works to promote accessible and affordable group acupuncture treatments. They have a clinic locator on their site.
What can I expect at a community acupuncture session?
Typically, the patient will meet with an acupuncturist for a short intake session in a semi-private space where the patient will describe their symptoms and reasoning for coming in for acupuncture. The practitioner will evaluate the patient and determine the ideal number of treatments per week for the initial healing stage. In our experience, the acupuncture rooms consist of several comfortable reclining chairs with coverings and available blankets and pillows.
The room is generally low-light with a white-noise machine or music, and sessions last between 45 minutes and an hour. Community Acupuncture clinics are also a good option because of their convenience (most clinics take walk-in patients) and a sliding price scale. However, because of the use of reclining chairs instead of traditional acupuncture tables, most community acupuncture clinics can’t apply needles to the back of the body. In our experience with acupuncture for post-concussion syndrome, this hasn’t been much of an issue, but it is worth considering. Also worth keeping in mind is the lack of privacy - both for discussing sensitive issues in-depth and for applying acupuncture to areas of the body that would require any removal of clothing.
Help for common concussion symptoms
In the experience of some members of our concussion recovery community, Community Acupuncture has helped with headaches, brain fog, related neck and jaw pain, and mood. Research shows that acupuncture also helps with sleep disturbances and anxiety. Compared to the cost of many other alternative treatments, we have found that Community Acupuncture is a cost-effective way to help alleviate concussion and post-concussion symptoms.
You might want to read an Oprah.com article about community acupuncture which includes a video of Oprah getting an acupuncture treatment, so you can see what inserting the needles is like.