This week we discuss 2 aspects of YAPCHANKOR’s treatment that is at the forefront of every patient’s mind when they come for treatment. When a chronic pain sufferer comes to us after exhausting all other treatments out there, he is usually quite jaded and skeptical about our treatment as well. It is never an easy task to convince a patient to give us a try, but for those who do, it is usually because they understand that in the long run, we can offer them an unbeatable combination of better results through faster recovery and lower overall treatment costs.

It is easier to explain this point through an example. Consider a patient suffering from wear and tear arthritis on the knee joint. This type of arthritis is also known as osteoarthritis (OA), and happens quite frequently to aging individuals as the cushion between the knee joints wear thin. The rubbing between the joints causes pain, swelling, stiffness and affects the patient’s functional and daily activities. It is without a doubt, an extremely regrettable condition for any person to have to live with, and can drastically reduce the person’s quality of life.

knee pain

Knee pain from arthritis

A patient going to the mainstream medical establishment will generally be told that the underlying condition is untreatable but the pain can be controlled with painkillers and physiotherapy. Patients end up taking painkillers of one sort or another, for example opiods, non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), or corticosteroid injections. Almost all these painkillers have negative side effects related to them, opiods are highly addictive, NSAIDs can cause gastrointestinal ulcers or cardiovascular problems like heart attacks (for the newer generation of painkillers in the COX-2 inhibitor class). A popular painkiller that is prescribed in Malaysia is Arcoxia, a COX-2 inhibitor that was not approved in the USA by the Food & Drug Administration because of the increased heart attack risks associated with it. (See http://www.drugs.com/history/arcoxia.html)

Let’s now tally up the costs. Monthly painkiller purchases will cost around RM300-500. Because these drugs only block pain signals but are not addressing the underlying condition, the patient will end up having to purchase drugs for many months. For argument’s sake, let’s say they take it for 3  to 6 months. That’s a total cost of RM900-1500 to RM1800 to RM3000.

Painkillers

Painkillers

This patient will also be recommended physiotherapy sessions. Standard of care physiotherapy for a chronic pain case like knee OA will generally mean 2-3 sessions a week, for 6 months. Each session of physiotherapy will cost on average about RM100-120 (this cost does not include the expensive modalities that are currently on offer at many centres in this country for Shockwave therapy or laser treatments). Therefore in a week, a patient will spend between RM200-300, and in a month around RM800-1200. Over the 6 months, assuming the patient is assiduously going for his physiotherapy sessions like his therapist would recommend, then he would have spent a total of between RM4800 to RM7200. Add that to his painkiller bill.

If all this fails, and if the pain is unbearable, then surgery might be considered. Some knee OA patients will undergo total knee replacement surgery, and the going rate for this is around RM20,000 per knee, not counting the hospitalisation and consultation fees. Following the surgery, there will also be many months of rehabilitation therapy, requiring intensive physiotherapy sessions which will cost…see the above paragraph.

After a bilateral total knee replacement surgery

After a bilateral total knee replacement surgery

What about other alternative treatments? Like acupuncture or chiropractic? Acupuncture has been shown to relieve pain, but in our experience with patients who have undergone this form of treatment, the results are only temporary. Chiropractors will do some joint mobilisation on the knee, but if the chiropractor tells you he can fix your knee pain by adjusting your neck or spine, you probably should go seek another opinion. In any case, the relief is also temporary. Both these therapies will require regular follow up visits, without a clear end date. Each session on average will cost around RM100 as well, and there are chiropractors that sell 40-session treatment packages to tie patients up to a recurring revenue for their business. It’s easy therefore, to spend thousands of ringgit over time with either of these types of therapists for results that last only a short while each time.

How much does it cost at YAPCHANKOR then? Here it is important for prospective patients to understand that our treatment is different because we focus on long-term recovery, not short term relief, and as such our business does not rely on patients signing up for an unending series of treatment sessions that can last years. There are many people who speak proudly of a chiropractor that they have been seeing for years! For us, we hope that the longest we see a patient will be one month.

In the case of our knee OA patient, generally speaking our treatment plans will require an intensive 14-21 sessions, done within 1 month. The cost of each session will be RM120, which includes 2 medicinal patches (for the front and back of the knee), physiotherapy, joint mobilisation and massage. Total that up and we’re talking a total cost of RM1500-2200, after our discounts. This is a fraction of what it would cost with mainstream medicine or alternatives.

More importantly, our patient’s expected recovery time is 3 to 4 weeks. Compared to at least 6 months with standard physiotherapy or the never-ending treatment sessions at a chiropractor or acupuncturist. Based on our experience treating multiple cases of knee OA, patients report up an average of 80% pain reduction or functional improvements, with a lower risk of pain recurrence. This is not to say that each case is a 100% successful recovery, since in the medical world, nothing is 100%. Here we talk about probabilities, and we like the odds for our patients.

So we hope that this post has addressed two major concerns of prospective patients. Besides faster recovery and cheaper costs, there are other benefits to YAPCHANKOR’s treatment – e.g. its non-invasive nature, its use of natural plant herbs, our focus on providing top-notch customer service, or our innovative combination of Western physiotherapy and Chinese medicine for optimal recovery. These will all be addressed in other posts in this series.