To estimate the true costs associated with back pain, start with the number of those affected every year, and the number is staggering. To put this in perspective, there are over 100 million Americans that suffer from chronic pain. That’s more than those affected by heart disease, diabetes, and cancer combined.
Of those with chronic pain, most are suffering from back pain – an estimated 28 million Americans. The majority of those living with back pain were injured in car accidents, sports accidents or while on the job.
27 Million Americans Experience Chronic Back Pain
In 2012, 52 million patients visited a doctor complaining of back pain. That number rose 15% from a 2004 report which showed that 44 million had visited physicians and reported having back pain.
There are now approximately 27 million Americans suffering from chronic back pain annually.
It’s estimated that 5-8 million of those people rely on opioids for long-term pain management. Why? Because the majority of those with spinal injuries are offered very few treatment options. Outside of medication, the most prominent method of treatment is physical therapy, change of diet and exercise.
Although these methods can be very effective, they do have considerable failure rates for several reasons – lack of discipline, funding and even schedule conflicts. The average person simply cannot afford to spend money or miss work to pay for the treatment. Also, the true cause of the injury is often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed leaving the care provider at a disadvantage, not knowing exactly what to treat.
Is enough being done to research and find the true cause of these injuries? That’s a question for another time. For now, concentrate on doing something today for those living with chronic back pain.
Cost of Treatment Rising
Estimates show that over $635 Billion is spent annually in this country on treatment and lost productivity due to chronic pain. Imagine the savings if this number could reduce by even 1%.
Lost production can have negative impacts on businesses and employees, especially during times of low economic prosperity.
About Back Chronic Back Pain
People suffering from chronic back pain should know that there are others around them who understand what they are going through. There is no need to face this problem on their own. They should seek solace and assistance from someone they trust.
There are promising emerging technologies to treat spinal injury. Some companies are innovating new developments in the diagnosis of spinal injuries.
One such company is Spinal Kinetics, based in New Richmond, Wisconsin. They have developed an innovative new method for determining the actual source of spinal injuries. Called CRMA or Computerized Radiographic Mensuration Analysis, the measurement is an advanced x-ray measurement technology that allows Spinal Kinetics’ Board Certified Medical Radiologists to accurately measure the exact abnormal intersegmental motion problems that occur with a spinal ligament injury which causes spinal instability.
This measurement is not performed by a general practitioner. Jeffrey Cronk, DC JD and COO of Spinal Kinetics says, “This testing is so powerful in determining the severity and location of the patient’s spinal ligament injuries that it must be done by an external source, preferably a board-certified medical radiologist, so that the results are completely unbiased.”
What Can Be Done
As painful as it may be to talk about, the truth is that to combat this problem, consider preventative actions as a viable solution. Prevention can be the #1 way of avoiding the onset of chronic pain whether it be prevention of precarious situations or avoiding activities that have high rates of injury.
Prevention can include the careful treatment of an injured area after the initial injury. In other words, not making the situation worse. Many injuries can be worsened by attempting to return to action too soon or by stressing the injured area too much before it has had sufficient time to heal.
According to Michigan Medicine at the University of Michigan, $1 per week added to 57% of adult taxes would increase federal funding for chronic pain.
There are many other organizations today that do medical research and scientific testing to look for cures as well as improving and innovating in the area of treatment.
Donating to an organization that is making a difference and doing something about it can help them further their cause and may eventually lead to advances.
What can anyone do if they have chronic pain? They can research answers.
No one wants to rely on pain medication to treat their problem. Everyone wants solutions. Everyone hopes there can be a better way. Many people simply accept what one professional says is true. This is not enough. There are answers out there, but they may not work for everyone. People suffering from backpain owe it to themselves to find something that works for them.
Chronic pain is very prevalent in this country. No one is going to say that it can all be prevented. It can’t be. But researchers can do more to find out the actual causes. More can be done to find workable treatments. And people suffering from backpain can do more to understand more about it.
In 1513, Leonardo Da Vinci codified incredibly accurate renderings of the human body including the spine, muscles, and ligaments. Over 500 years later, there is often no accurate diagnoses for back pain. That needs to change.
It’s time the human body was better understood. We rely on our bodies to be in good enough shape to get work done and live better lives. We pay dearly for not understanding the causes of these problems.