Most of us will experience lower back pain at some point in our lives. It might only last a few weeks, or it might last much longer – causing debilitating pain and making everyday tasks a battle.
The good news is, if you have private health insurance, there are many ways you might be able to use your cover to help manage the pain.
Here are some tips for managing lower back pain – and how Medibank might be able to help.
See a Physio
A physiotherapist can provide treatment aimed to relieve the pain, as well as teaching you how to look after your back and prevent future episodes.
Depending on your level of health cover, and whether you have extras, your private health insurance might be able to help with costs associated with your treatment. By choosing a Members’ Choice provider, most extras policies allow eligible Medibank members to claim between 55-100% of the total bill for included services, provided it is included in your cover, up to your annual limit and subject to any waiting periods. You can check your remaining limits and submit a claim by logging into My Medibank or using the My Medibank app. You can also find your nearest Members’ Choice provider here.
Low-impact exercise can often help back pain, especially walking, swimming, Pilates and yoga — but check with your doctor or health professional before trying a new physical activity.
Check out Medibank’s Live Better activities for fun social events to get your body moving. And if you are a Medibank member, you can visit our Member Offers for great deals such as discounted gym entry.
You could also try Clinical Pilates – a type of exercise that focuses on posture, core stability, balance, control, strength, flexibility, and breathing. These sessions are led by fully-qualified physiotherapists who often provide individual treatment programs. If you have extras cover, your private health insurance might help cover the cost of these classes. Check your cover summary or give us a call if you’re unsure.
Visit your GP
If you’re experiencing lower back pain, especially for over six weeks, and self-management hasn’t worked, see your health professional or GP. Your doctor can assess your symptoms and can provide you with a referral to the right health professionals and treatment program if necessary.
Consider a Chiropractor
Chiropractic treatment is focused on treating and preventing musculoskeletal problems throughout the body, using spinal manipulation – a form of manual therapy involving the joints of the spine. Studies have shown that spinal manipulation is one of several options — including exercise, massage, and physical therapy — that can provide mild-to-moderate relief from lower back pain. Talk to your GP before seeking treatment.
Again, your private health insurance might help with costs associated with your treatment, and by choosing a Members’ Choice provider, eligible Medibank members can get a fixed percentage back on the total bill*.
Try remedial massage
Remedial massage aims to reduce or eliminate pain, and restore normal function of muscles and joints. It can help increase joint mobility and flexibility, stimulate the lymphatic system and promote blood flow, particularly to injured areas. Many of Medibank’s Extras products pay benefits towards remedial massage, but you must visit a recognised provider to claim benefits for remedial massage. You can search for Medibank Member’s Choice providers online, or check with a local or preferred provider that they have a current Medibank provider number. When considering remedial massage as an option, keep in mind that it is not a replacement for assessment and care by a doctor. And if you are using it as part of your treatment for an injury or condition, you should let your doctor know.
If you need to go to hospital
If you end up going to hospital, make sure you’re fully informed before you go. Before you commit to a specialist or procedure, it’s always a good idea to call us on 132 331 to review your cover, confirm what out-of-pocket costs you are likely to encounter, and find out more about what you can expect from your hospital stay.
Medibank’s Live Better is a valuable resource to prepare you for your hospital admission. You can look up what you might pay out-of-pocket and how health insurance could help manage the costs using our online interactive tool. And you can get lots of practical information and advice to help you prepare for, and recover from, your hospital stay in our going to hospital guide.
Whether it be more claimable services or a higher claiming limit, a health cover review can help you find the right level of cover for your changing needs. For more information, or to check that you have the best cover for your condition, chat to our friendly staff online 24/7 for advice and help with your health cover.
*Waiting periods and annual limits apply.