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Can I Use My Flexible Spending Account for Chiropractic Care?

October 13, 2011

As of the time this article is being written – Yes you can use your FSA account to pay for chiropractic services.

Bear in mind that exactly what is and is not eligible inside a Flexible Spending Account is ultimately determined by the IRS.  The rules covering FSAs can and do change year-to-year and there is some gray area which is open for interpretation.

The relevant IRS publications to consult for all the details are Publication 969: Health Savings Accounts and Other Tax-Favored Health Plans
and Publication 502: Medical and Dental Expenses. You can find both of these online at http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p969.pdf and http://www.irs.gov/pub/irs-pdf/p502.pdf

This article isn’t intended to provide tax advice or address
your specific situation, but it will give you a broad overview and direct you
to resources where you can learn more. Now that the disclaimer is out of the
way, here is what consumers should know.

IRS Publication 502 clearly states – “You can include in medical expenses fees you pay to a chiropractor for medical care.” This rather short statement covers the core things we do
such as exams, diagnostic tests and spinal adjustments.  Good news for you!

It also states that “You can include in medical expenses amounts paid for transportation primarily for, and essential to, medical care.” This includes gas for your own car and
also public transportation fees you pay in order to come to our office. Just
keep track of your mileage, commuting routes or receipts in a log book.

The IRS draws a distinction between ‘medical care’ and
general health. Most purchases intended to keep you healthy or enhance your
health don’t qualify. This includes nutritional supplements, exercise equipment
and health club memberships. Weight loss programs also don’t qualify unless you
are under medical supervision for a disorder such as diabetes or cardiovascular
disease where weight loss is part of the disease treatment program.

Note that there are two players for every FSA plan – the IRS
and the benefits company providing the plan. In most cases the benefits company
will allow everything the IRS allows, but some may have additional restrictions
of their own. If in doubt about whether a specific service we provide is
eligible, consult your corporate benefits administrator.

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AMA study: doctors contribute $14.7 billion to Indiana’s economy

April 3, 2011

What have you done for me lately? Office-based doctors contributed $14.7 billion to Indiana’s economy and supported 66,409 employees in 2009.

The American Medical Association and independent researchers The Lewin Group reported these statistics from a new study.

Office-based physicians in Indiana paid $9.6 billion in wages and benefits, and $581.4 million in taxes.

“Most people don’t think of physician practices as small businesses. As such, they contribute greatly to the economic vitality of our local communities and state,” Brent Mohr, M.D., Indiana State Medical Association president, says.

Office-based physicians almost always generate more for state economies than hospitals, law firms, nursing homes and home health organizations.

To read more about the report, visit the American Medical Association.

Your office-based doctors face a 22-25 percent cut in Medicare reimbursement unless Congress acts to permanently correct a flawed formula that determines these rates.

To keep your office-based physicians, please make your voice heard.

Sign the Medicare petition.

Let your representative know how you feel.

Robert W. Ferguson, D.C., has been diagnosing and treating Central Indiana patients with musculoskeletal system conditions since 1991.

Dr. Oz tells how chiropractors can help back pain.

March 7, 2011

Mehmet Oz, M.D., better known as Dr. Oz on television told show viewers Thursday that licensed chiropractors can help 80 percent of people with back pain.

He said twenty-two million Americans make “chiropractic” visits each year for spinal manipulations to have their backs adjusted. Chiropractic is a Greek word meaning done by hand.

If your spine gets out of alignment, this causes pressure on the discs and nerves. That pressure results in back pain.

To prevent back pain, strengthen your core muscles. This helps your back muscles function without as much pressure on the spine.

Ask your chiropractor what exercises would be best for you so you don’t hurt your spine, head or neck muscles.

For more information about back pain, visit licensed chiropractor Robert Ferguson, D.C. or call (317) 876-7826.

Happy Holidays

December 13, 2010

Happy holidays from my family to yours!

~ Dr. Ferguson, Robbie and Anna

94-year-old chiropractor/body builder Jack LaLanne inspires us

September 7, 2010

Chiropractor and body builder Jack LaLanne, 94, says, “The only way you hurt the body is with inactivity. Wear yourself out, don’t rest yourself out.”

Exercise tips in this video:

1.    You’re never too old to take care of your body.
2.    Exercise two to three times a day.
3.    Pull your waist in.
4.    If you’re going to lift something, take care of your back by bending your knees.
5.    Exercise both sides of your back so both are equally strong.

I hope we all have the good health he has when we’re 94.

Wiihabilitation, using Nintendo’s Wii video game system, is one way to stay in shape. & recover from strokes, broken bones, surgery and combat injuries.

For more information, visit Chiropractic Therapeutics & Rehabilitation.

Tennis & golfer’s elbow: adherence to rehabilitation program is key

August 3, 2010

“Elbow tendinopathy,” commonly called tennis or golfer’s elbow, is an overuse injury. Playing tennis or golf can cause this, but so can other things. It’s the most common condition affecting the elbow.

Recovery can take three to four months, although pain can go away in 6-12 weeks. Left untreated, patients can end up with chronic pain.

Treatment focuses on resting and protecting the injured tendon so it can heal, swelling go down and muscle strength improve. Patience and careful adherence to a rehabilitation program is key to improvement.

Tennis elbow versus golfer’s elbow

Patients sometimes confuse tennis elbow and its cousin golfer’s elbow with carpal tunnel syndrome because elbow pain can extend into the forearm.

Tendons are tough bands of tissue, which connect muscles to bones. They help your muscles move your bones.

  • Tennis elbow is an injury to the outer elbow tendon.
  • Golfer’s elbow is an injury to the inner elbow tendon.

Tennis players with tennis elbow

Beginning tennis players are candidates when they frequently contract their wrists on strokes, don’t follow through sufficiently and lead with their elbows. Over half of the force for a tennis serve should come from the hips and pelvis. Not from the wrist.

Many tennis pros recommend staying away from a lightweight racquet with a heavy head and a grip that’s too small. Lower string tension transmits less force to your elbow.

For more information, visit www.racquetresearch.com.

Elbow tendinopathy symptoms

If you’re right handed, you’ll be more likely to get tennis or golfer’s elbow in your right elbow. Left-handed people usually experience pain in the left elbow.

Symptoms include:

  • Elbow pain that gets worse
  • Pain from the outside of your elbow to the forearm and back of the hand when grasping or twisting
  • Pain when shaking hands or turning a doorknob
  • Hard to hold a coffee cup

Risk factors

  • Performing repetitive movements for two or more hours daily
  • Improper weight lifting techniques when routinely lifting 44 pounds or more
  • Poor tennis and golf techniques and inappropriate equipment

Diagnosis

A medical professional can diagnose your problem after performing a physical exam and listening to your signs, symptoms and description of pain.

There’s often pain when the tendon is gently pressed near where it attaches to the upper arm bone, over the outside of the elbow. Also, near the elbow when the wrist is extended against resistance or bent backwards, like revving a motorcycle engine.

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to relieve pain and swelling, then increase muscle strength.

Pain relief: In the beginning, Aceaminophen (Tylenol and other brands) in limited amounts may offer pain relief. Usually, two 375 mg tablets every four to six hours as needed. But don’t take more than 4000 mg of Acetaminophen a day. Talk with your doctor before taking any if you have liver disease or drink alcohol regularly.

Another choice in the beginning is nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Advil and other brands) or naproxen (Aleve and other brands) used sparingly. Patients can take 400-800 mg of ibuprofen every six to eight hours, but no more than 3200 mg per day. If naproxen is preferred, 440 mg every 12 hours.

Ice: For up to three days after an injury, ice the elbow for 20 minutes every two hours to help reduce swelling. Keep your elbow above your heart level when possible to limit swelling.

Arm brace: A tennis elbow brace or strap can apply pressure to your forearm muscles, reducing pressure on your elbow’s injured tendon. I like arm braces with an ice pack and most drug stores sell these for $10-20.

When you put the arm brace on, make sure the cushion rests on your forearm muscles, three to four inches from the tip of your elbow bone. The brace may be helpful for the first six weeks following your injury.

Only wear the brace when you’re working or playing sports. When you’re not wearing the arm brace, bend and stretch your elbow in a pain-free range of motion.

Ultrasound: Using a deep heat setting from ultrasonography, high frequency sound waves vibrate tissues deep inside the injured area, creating heat. Then more blood can get into the soft tissue damaged area so healthy tissue can grow. This reduces pain and inflammation; speeds healing; reduces muscle spasms and increases range of motion.

Sound-Assisted Soft Tissue Mobilization: This can break up adhesions in the muscles and reduce chronic inflammation. Chiropractic adjustments to the elbow and wrist can also help in the healing process.

Stretching: A stretching program helps relieve muscle spasms and lengthen shortened muscle-tendon units.

Perform stretching exercises following activity when muscles are warm. Before activity, a gradual warm-up involving the major muscles is more helpful.

Hold stretches for 20-30 seconds. Longer holds provide no additional benefit.

Stretch three to five days each week. Flexibility gains from one stretching session last 90 minutes. Gains from regular stretching sessions last for weeks.

Flexibility exercises: These can improve your arm’s strength and ability to move.

Tennis elbow: While standing or sitting upright, hold your injured arm straight out in front of you and lower your hand. Your fingers will be pointing toward the floor. Then use your healthy arm’s hand to hold your injured arm’s hand. Press your thumb on the injured palm and use your fingers to try to bend the wrist further. Hold for 30 seconds; repeat three times. Do this stretch several times every day.

Golfer’s elbow: Stand an arm’s length away from a wall with your injured arm closest to the wall. Place your palm on the wall with fingers pointing down. Apply gentle pressure to the hand. Hold for 30 seconds, repeating three times. Perform this exercise several times daily.

Strengthening exercises: After your flexibility has improved and you have little or no pain, your medical professional will give you strengthening exercises. Symptoms often get worse in the beginning as weight placed on the tendons increase.

Your medical professional can make sure that weight is heavy enough to promote healing yet not too heavy. Too much weight would make your injury worse, impair function, cause excessive pain and discourage you.

Prevention

  • Stretch your forearm muscles at your wrist before and after use.
  • Strengthen forearm muscles.
  • Tennis and golf players can take lessons to improve technique and get advice in choosing equipment.
  • Lift weight with a rigid stable wrist to reduce the force your elbow feels.
  • Apply ice to the outside and inside of your elbow for seven minutes after heavy use.

For more information, visit Chiropractic Therapeutics & Rehabilitation.


Ask Congress to keep doctors for Medicare patients.

July 8, 2010

For a Medicare patient, a doctor can mean everything: independence, hope and security. Medicare makes it possible.

For a doctor, treating patients is everything. Our doctors have cared for many of your children and grandchildren. Our patients are family.

The last thing we want to do is tell our patients we can no longer care for them. We want to continue taking care of our Medicare patients.

Medicare is already one of the lowest paying insurance plans in which most physicians participate.  However, your doctors stand to face a 22-25% immediate reduction in payments from Medicare unless Congress acts to permanently correct a flawed formula that determines Medicare reimbursement rates.

Even though the new healthcare bill promises to cover more patients, big problems still exist. This bill didn’t fix Medicare, our government’s largest healthcare program.

Congress must fix Medicare now, so Medicare patients can have the doctors they need when they’re sick. Medicare patients deserve to receive the care they’ve been promised.

Congress must focus on this problem it’s been putting off for more than 10 years.

A statewide effort is now underway to collect a million signatures. The petition drive asks Congress to stop the Medicare meltdown so patients can choose their doctors and their doctors can stay in the program.

We can’t collect your signature on a petition because of government regulations. So instead, we’re sharing this information with you.

Please make your voice heard.

Sign the petition, asking Congress to continue its work and fix the crumbling foundation of our healthcare system.

Let your representative know how you feel. Members of Congress listen to their constituents.

For more information, visit Chiropractic Therapeutics & Rehabilitation.