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Treating Back Pain in Baby Boomers Threatens to Bankrupt the Healthcare System
Date:3/26/2013

1935), Preboomers (born 1935-1944), Boomers (born 1945-1964), Postboomers (born 1965-1975), and Younger Adults (born after 1975). They identified 8262 non-chronic and 3842 chronic cases of back pain. During the surveyed time period, overall cases of back pain increased 29%, while chronic back pain increased by 64%. When adjusted to 2010 dollars, costs increased by 129% from $15.6 billion in the 2000-2001 biennium, to $35.7 billion during 2006-2007.

The researchers also noted that back pain is second only to upper respiratory infections for why patients consult doctors. The prevalence of back pain, especially chronic back pain is rapidly escalating, principally because of an aging population. At retirement, 25% of Elders through Baby Boomers have chronic back pain, with 40% of this back pain becoming chronic. In recent years, the prevalence of back pain has been increasing by 8.3% annually, with 25% of sufferers accounting for 75% of costs.

The prevalence and chronicity of back pain threatens to strain an already overstretched US healthcare system. Smith et al. summarized researchers Deyo, Mirza, Turner, and Martin in their paper Overtreating Chronic Back Pain: Time to Back Off?: “It is imperative to identify and dramatically improve the delivery of high-value care. The curative acute model often fails because many will never fully recover from back pain. A chronic care model demands better coordination of care which focuses on prevention, education, self-care, and functional improvement.”

Publishing in the journal Pain, the research team led by Cynthia O Townsend used a multidisciplinary rehabilitation approach fo
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