Where does back pain hurt the most? A new study indicates that the biggest pain could be in the wallet as individuals with back pain rack up annual health care expenditures 60 percent greater than their non-back pain-suffering counterparts.
The study, “Estimates and Patterns of Direct Health Care Expenditures Among Individuals With Back Pain in the United States,” published in the January 2004 issue of Spine, reviewed 1998 statistics to determine just how much back pain treatment costs Americans. Their results showed that over $90 billion dollars were spent in 1998 on health care by individuals with back pain, and back pain-specific treatment expenditures totaled nearly a third of that cost ($26.3 billion).
Additionally, the study, conducted by researchers at Duke University Medical Center, found that higher per-capita expenditures were typically incurred by patients who were either older, female or white, who had medical insurance or who suffered from a disc disorder.
The study authors noted that their figures are likely to be conservative