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Neural therapy involves the injection of a local anesthetic such as procaine or lidocaine into various tissues such as scars, trigger points, acupuncture points, tendon and ligament insertions, peripheral nerves, autonomic ganglia, the epidural space, and other tissues to treat chronic pain and illness. When the anesthetic agent is injected into traditional acupuncture points, this treatment may be called neural acupuncture.
The practice of neural therapy is based on the belief that energy flows freely through the body. It is proposed that injury, disease, malnutrition, stress, and scar tissue disrupt this flow, creating disturbances in the electrochemical function of tissues and energy imbalances called “interference fields.” Injection of a local anesthetic is believed to reestablish the normal resting potential of nerves and flow of energy. Alternative theories include fascial continuity, the ground (matrix) system, and the lymphatic system.
There is a strong focus on treatment of the autonomic nervous system, and injections may be given at a location other than the source of the pain or location of an injury. Neural therapy is promoted mainly to relieve chronic pain. It has also been proposed to be helpful for allergies, hay fever, headaches, arthritis, asthma, hormone imbalances, libido, infertility, tinnitus, chronic bowel problems, sports or muscle injuries, gallblader, heart, kidney, or liver disease, dizziness, depression, menstrual cramps, and skin and circulation problems.
Related medical policies are –
POLICYNeural therapy is considered investigational for all indications.
POLICY GUIDELINESNeural therapy should be distinguished from the use of peripherally injected anesthetic agents for nerve blocks or local anesthesia. The site of the injection for neural therapy may be located far from the source of the pain or injury. The length of treatment can vary from one session to a series of sessions over a period of weeks or months.
Investigative service is defined as the use of any treatment procedure, facility, equipment, drug, device, or supply not yet recognized by certifying boards and/or approving or licensing agencies or published peer review criteria as standard, effective medical practice for the treatment of the condition being treated and as such therefore is not considered medically necessary.
The coverage guidelines outlined in the Medical Policy Manual should not be used in lieu of the Member's specific benefit plan language.
POLICY HISTORY03/22/2012: Approved by Medical Policy Advisory Committee.
04/01/2013: Policy reviewed; no changes.
03/07/2014: Policy reviewed; no changes.
01/20/2015: Policy reviewed; description updated. Policy statement unchanged.
07/31/2015: Code Reference section updated for ICD-10.
SOURCE(S)Blue Cross Blue Shield Association policy # 2.01.85
CODE REFERENCEThis may not be a comprehensive list of procedure codes applicable to this policy.