Musculoskeletal disorders

About half of U.S. adults have a musculoskeletal disorder: report

back pain

Photo: Pamela Moore/iStockphoto

Orlando, FL – About 1 in 2 U.S. adults has a musculoskeletal disorder, costing an estimated $213 billion each year in treatment and lost wages, according to a report from the United States Bone and Joint Initiative. The report was released March 1 during the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons’ annual meeting.

Musculoskeletal disorders are injuries and conditions to the bones, muscles and joints that result in pain and can affect activity. The most common are arthritis and related conditions; back and neck pain; injuries from falls, work, military service and sports; and osteoporosis, the report states. About 126.6 million Americans lived with an MSD in 2012.

The total of direct and indirect costs for people who have both musculoskeletal disorders and other conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or obesity is $874 billion, according to the report.

Other report findings include:

  • Arthritis is the top cause of disability. Half of U.S. adults 65 and older have it.
  • Two-thirds of arthritis patients are younger than 65.
  • Nearly 1 in 3 adults has back and neck pain.
  • Arthritis and rheumatoid conditions lead to an estimated 6.7 million hospitalizations.
  • The average annual cost per individual for treating a musculoskeletal condition is $7,800.
  • In 2012, 25.5 million people lost 11.4 days of work on average due to back or neck pain, totaling 290.8 million lost workdays.

The report calls for better comprehension of the role of behavior change in preventing and treating conditions through weight loss and self-management of conditions.

“This report provides the critical data needed to understand the magnitude of the problem, and the burden, of musculoskeletal disease in our country,” David Pisetsky, USBJI president and professor of medicine and immunology at Duke University Medical School, said in a press release. “The number of visits to physicians for these disorders, the cost of treating them, and the indirect costs associated with pain and loss of mobility, are proportionately much higher than the resources currently being allocated to combat these conditions and injuries.”

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