Back problems common and costly

February 17, 2011

If it seems like many of your patients are experiencing back problems, you?re not alone. According to an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality report, one-half to three-quarters of Americans experience back problems, mostly intervertebral disc disorders, spondylosis, and other back pain at some time in their lives.

If it seems like many of your patients are experiencing back problems, you’re not alone. According to an Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality report, one-half to three-quarters of Americans experience back problems, mostly intervertebral disc disorders, spondylosis, and other back pain at some time in their lives.

In 2008, roughly 3.4 million emergency department visits at U.S. hospitals-an average of 9,400 a day-were specifically for back problems, the study found. The same year saw more than 663,000 back-related inpatient stays-a daily average of nearly 1,820-principally for back surgery or other back disorder treatments. Patients from rural areas had the highest rates of emergency department visits and inpatient stays for back problems, while those from metropolitan areas had the lowest.