According to an analysis of data from the Agency for Healthcare Research
and Quality and the National Center for Health Statistics, patients with back
pain consume more than $90 million annually in health care expenses.
The analysis of the government data from 1998 was performed by researchers
at Duke University Medical Center in Durham, NC, and was published in the
January 1 issue of the journal Spine. The authors
state that their results highlight the prevalence of back pain in the United
States—25.9 million individuals reported back pain in 1998—and
its impact on the health care system. They report that on average, health
care expenditures were 60% higher for individuals with back pain than for
those without it. Costs associated with back pain varied widely, depending
on patients' clinical, socioeconomic, and demographic backgrounds.
Hampton T. Back Pain Is a Money Drain. JAMA. 2004;291(4):415. doi:10.1001/jama.291.4.415-e