Getting Help for Back and Joint Pain

Chronic aches and pain can make even the simplest tasks feel hard. Let us help you feel like you again. You have options with your Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan plan.

It’s time to get back to the things you love

It starts with a slight twinge. Or worse, a can’t-get-out-of-bed kind of day. But rest assured, there are a number of things you can do to feel better – no matter if you have spine, hip, knee or other joint pain. 

If you're in pain


Start with your primary care doctor

Just like when you have a cold, your doctor should be your first call if you’re in pain. They’ll listen to your concerns, examine you and recommend next steps. If you don’t have a primary care doctor, you can use your online member account to find one who accepts your plan.

Treatment your doctor may recommend

Depending on your symptoms, your primary care doctor may suggest one or more of the following:



  • Self-treatment at home, such as increments of heat and ice, or exercises

  • Physical therapy, which can include guided exercises and massage

  • Weight loss, a healthier diet and/or stopping the use of tobacco products

  • Pain management with medications and/or other treatments, like injections

Take pain medicine responsibly

Your doctor may prescribe pain medication to help with your symptoms. It’s important to take the medication as prescribed, especially if it’s an opioid. Taking more medications than prescribed can lead to substance use disorder or even death.

Read Opioids 101


Weight loss and tobacco cessation programs

For many, weight loss, exercise and stopping the use of tobacco, like smoking, can make a big difference. 

As a Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan member, you have access to:


Weight loss and tobacco cessation programs

Did you know

Studies show that being overweight increases conditions like arthritis in your back and joints1

We’re here to help

Physical pain can take a mental toll

When you’re in pain, you can’t do all the things you used to do. Understandably, this can lead to sadness or depression. Your Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan plan can support your mental health, too. Get support

Phone + online therapy

In-person support

Self-guided care

Primary care physician

If you need surgery

Things to consider

In many but not all cases, surgery is a last resort when other treatment options for back and joint pain have failed. Be sure to discuss the potential risks and benefits with your doctor. We’ll also take certain steps to make sure you’re set up for the best possible outcome.

Surgery and your health plan coverage

When you have a spine and joint issue that requires surgical options, we work with your doctor to make sure that the procedures and services you get are necessary, safe and will deliver the best possible outcomes. 

A team of health care professionals at Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan will review your doctor’s recommendation and compare it with the most current medical guidelines. Orthopedic specialists will also help review cases to ensure you receive optimal care and can achieve the best possible outcomes. 

In some cases, we may ask your doctor to help you work on additional lifestyle changes before we approve your coverage. Keep reading to learn more.



Finding the right surgery provider

When you have spine or joint issues, finding the right care can be a difficult task. We can help by connecting you with surgeons who’ll understand your unique needs.

Whether in Michigan or out of state, the doctors we’ve chosen have a proven record of consistently following national orthopedic guidelines. For this reason, we’ve given them a Spine and Joint Care program designation.

Beyond finding the right care, you can also be rewarded for it. All you need to do is have a reward-eligible surgery with a participating spine, knee or hip care program doctor. These doctors can be found by looking for a green trophy next to their name. To find one, just:

  • Log into your online member account
  • Choose Your choices for care, then Find a specialist
  • Select Doctors by specialty, then enter the type of surgery
  • Choose More filters, then Spine and Joint Care program

How much does surgery cost?

It depends on your plan. You can check your coverage by logging in now.

If you want more resources

Recommended reading


The evolution of pain management

Pain management has a long history. Today’s approaches are more holistic to benefit your overall health.

Learn the approaches

A gentler approach to back pain treatment

If you reach for pain relievers when you feel a twinge, you might want to rethink your approach.

Know the facts

Tips to manage pain and your mental health

Focusing on pain management and your mental health can be a strong strategy for success.

Get the tips

The information contained on this webpage is for educational purposes only. Nothing on this webpage is intended to be, nor should be used as or relied upon as, professional medical advice. Nothing contained on this webpage is intended to be used for medical diagnosis or treatment. For medical advice, or to receive medical diagnosis or treatment, consult with your health care provider.