Interventions of Interest:

  • Acupuncture
  • Cognitive behavioral therapy
  • Mindfulness
  • Yoga
  • Tai Chi

ICER developed a report assessing the comparative clinical effectiveness and value of certain non-pharmacologic, non-invasive interventions for chronic low back and neck pain. The report was the subject of a October 19, 2017 meeting of the California Technology Assessment Forum. Evidence from the report suggested safe and effective treatments include acupuncture, cognitive behavioral therapy, mindfulness-based stress reduction, and yoga.

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Final Documents

Below you will find the final documents from the assessment review process:

“Findings from our report and the votes of the CTAF panel suggest that there is adequate evidence to support broader insurance coverage of all of these therapies except for tai chi, where the evidence is still inconclusive. Good studies have shown that these other modalities can reduce pain and improve function for people with chronic low back pain, and they pose fewer risks than opioids or surgery. Unfortunately, even in the face of an opioid epidemic, many patients are not offered these alternative types of pain management. Stakeholders, particularly payers, should work to ensure that patients are able to access a broad range of evidence-based non-drug interventions with at least as much ease as they are able to access pharmacologic treatments.”