Question:I had a car accident six months ago. I still have neck pain from the whiplash I received then. My insurance no longer covers my medical bills for this problem. This just doesn't seem right. Can't something be done to extend care when problems don't just magically disappear?
Answer:Chronic pain leading to loss of function and disability can occur following whiplash. In fact, this happens enough to have a name for the condition: Whiplash associated disorder (WAD).
Many insurance companies and third party payers are geared for acute health care problems. Coverage may be limited for chronic conditions that require continued treatment. Each work place negotiates the terms of their agreement with insurance companies.
It may be possible to work on an individual basis with your provider. Sometimes with the proper documentation from your physician, physical therapist, or other health care providers involved, coverage can be extended. What really needs to happen is a policy change.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has set up a Neck Pain Task Force to report on various aspects of chronic neck pain. Prevention, education, treatment and its prognosis are just a few of the topics studied by this group. Understanding neck and back pain is the first starting place.
They agree that policy changes are needed that will help improve the health and well-being of many patients. They hope that the result of their work will lead to such changes.Lars Lidgren, MD, PhD. Preface: Neck Pain and the Decade of the Bone and Joint 2000-2010. In Spine. Supplement to February 15, 2008. Vol. 33. No. 4S. Pp. S1-S2.
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