You’ve probably heard a lot about opioids lately, and for good reason—the CDC estimates that more than 115 people die from opioid overdoses every day.
One of the biggest reasons for widespread misuse of these drugs is that they’re both effective at short-term pain management and highly addictive.
Luckily, to combat what some now call the “opioid epidemic,” researchers from the American College of Physicians (ACP) have published guidelines that promote alternative noninvasive and therapy-based pain treatments.
Although these guidelines recommend the use of opioids and other medications as a last resort, therapeutic treatments may help strengthen your body and help you heal naturally. However, you should always consult your physician for the best way to treat your pain.
Here are some common pain treatments based on the ACP’s guidelines:
- Use heat or ice packs to reduce pain and swelling. Regulating how much blood flows into affected areas can be a simple and effective way to reduce pain.
- Avoid overexertion. Rest will allow any injured tissue and nerve roots to begin to heal. However, too much rest can cause your muscles to weaken.
- Exercise when possible. Although exercising to relieve pain may sound strange, even low-intensity activity like stretching or walking can help strengthen your muscles and relieve pain. Consult with a health care or fitness professional to customize a safe and effective exercise routine for any severe or chronic pain.
- Engage in relaxing activities such as yoga and meditation. Research has shown that the mental aspect of physical pain can cause it to be much more intense than it would be otherwise.
- Explore your options. Talk with your doctor about alternative pain relievers and anti-inflammatory medications. You could also discuss when to use or how to wean off strong narcotics. Opioids should only be considered as a last resort.
You might be wondering why you even need to think about disability insurance in the first place. After all, your employer offers you this type of insurance so you should be covered if you have to be out of work due to illness or injury. Unless you are well-versed in the intricacies of your particular insurance policy, though, you could be unpleasantly surprised if you are out of work for an extended period of time.
Your First Steps
The first thing you should do is go over your current insurance policy. If your employer provides disability insurance, then you have some coverage. It is likely not to be enough, though. Most employer-provided insurance policies offer only short term disability. This coverage is often only for the short term and phases out after about six months. Long term disability — the type that kicks in after you reach the time constraints of your short term insurance — often lasts only five or ten years.
Think Long Term
It is easy to become complacent and think that you will never need long term disability insurance. Many catastrophic accidents, injuries and illnesses, though, can make you unable to work at your previous potential for a number of years. For the best protection, you need to make sure that your long term disability insurance covers you until at least the age of 65. After that, social security officially kicks in to provide you with the coverage you need.
In order to meet your responsibilities, you need to think in the long term. Talk to your insurance agent today to build a plan for both short and long term disability insurance that will protect your family and everything you have worked so hard for.
You know you should probably get disability insurance at some point. After all, you never know when an accident or illness will make it difficult for you to work. With both short and long term policies available, however, the choices can be confusing. Knowing the differences between these polices will help you sort out which one is better for you.
The Long and Short of It
Short term disability is insurance that kicks in once you have exhausted the sick days available from your employer. Though policies vary, short term disability typically last about six months. While you might see payments that are nearly the same as your usual salary early on, they are often reduced to a percentage of that amount within a few weeks.
Long term disability is designed for those catastrophic events that have the potential to mark the end of your paycheck-earning days. In many cases, long term disability begins when short term policies end. While some plans last only five to ten years, a more viable long term disability insurance policy lasts at least until you are 65 years of age.
You Need Both for Complete Coverage
Given the overview outlined above, it is easy to see the place for both types of insurance in your life. Short term disability insurance is the ideal way to ensure coverage if you come down with pneumonia that sends you out of work for two weeks when you have already used up nearly all your sick days. Long term disability insurance is vital if that bout of pneumonia turns out to be a more serious illness that requires extensive care that could result in you being out of work on a permanent basis.
Protect your assets and your family by ensuring that you have the necessary insurance coverage should you find yourself unable to work.