Report: Chiropractic Adjustments can have Positive Neuroplasticity Effects

by | Last updated Feb 28, 2023 | Published on Jul 7, 2017 | Specialty Billing

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Though chiropractors provide very specialized services and chiropractic medical billing is quite different from other medical insurance billing, the scope of the therapy is quite broad, say studies. A recent article in Citizen Times says that chiropractic care can boost brain function. According to the report, specific spinal adjustments have positive neuroplasticity effects. The American Chiropractic Association estimates that there are approximately 77,000 chiropractors in the U.S. and that they treat more than 35 million Americans every year. Chiropractors perform spinal manipulation with their hands and various instruments to restore or to enhance joint function by resolving joint inflammation and reducing pain. Studies say that specific spinal adjustments can improve brain function and overall health. So chiropractic adjustments can not only relieve pain but also address stress on the nervous system that causes mental decline and usher in positive neuroplasticity, the unique capacity of the brain to reorganize itself.

Neuroplasticity refers to the physiological changes in the brain that occur as the result of people’s interactions with their environment. The connections among the cells in our brains reorganize in response to a person’s changing needs, allowing him to learn from and adapt to different experiences. Neuroplasticity is a critical element in recovery from brain injury.

A study presented at the International Research And Philosophy Symposium held at Sherman College of Straight Chiropractic established the brain boosting impact of chiropractic adjustments. The research was conducted over a three-year period and involved about 100 participants. Electroencephalograms (EEG) were used to monitor their brain functions before and after chiropractic adjustments. The study found that:

  • EEG scans after the administration of a chiropractic adjustment showed improvement in all areas of the participant’s brain function
  • There was an increase in the meditative Alpha brainwave patterns associated with a greater degree of relaxation, health and healing.

The brain and nervous system control all functions of the body and stress leads to depression, decline in brain function and poor health. Aging can lead to negative neuroplasticity when brain function begins to decline. This, in turn, can affect health and make the body susceptible to disease. Cervical chiropractic adjustments can bring about positive neuroplasticity effects by reducing stress, thereby restoring normal brain function, healing, and health.

The role of chiropractic care continues to expand with the focus on restricting the use of opioids for pain management. Chiropractic adjustments are an ideal option for drug-free management of acute, subacute and chronic back, neck and neuro-musculoskeletal pain. As chiropractors strive to play a key role in the nation’s opioid exit strategy, they need to pay chiropractic insurance billing rules and guidelines to ensure appropriate reimbursement for the services they provide.

Medicare covers only services that represent manual spinal manipulation if medically necessary to correct a subluxation, and private insurance companies follow Medicare billing rules. The exact location of the subluxation must be clearly specified in the patient’s medical chart. Ignorance of the rules and inadvertent mistakes in claim submission can lead to improper payments and allegations of fraud. In fact, the the October 2016 Office of Inspector General (OIG) report noted that 82 percent of payments made in 2013 to doctors of chiropractic were “unallowable” or noncompliant with CMS rules in some way. The OIG identified four areas that pose particular problems for chiropractors:

  • Poor documentation
  • Documentation of medical necessity
  • Coding
  • Patient financial inconsistencies

Medical necessity has to be documented in the notes and match the services that are billed. With all these complexities, partnering with an experienced medical billing service provider is a practical strategy for chiropractors to ensure that their billing and documentation are compliant and accurate.

Natalie Tornese

Holding a CPC certification from the American Academy of Professional Coders (AAPC), Natalie is a seasoned professional actively managing medical billing, medical coding, verification, and authorization services at OSI.

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