Painful Facts

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June 1, 2010

Painful Facts

I am working on a presentation analyzing cost in pain treatment that I will be giving in Las Vegas, and I thought that instead of letting whatever happens in Vegas stay there that I would share the information with you all.

Here is some of the data:

About 76 million Americans suffer from chronic pain
Over 57 million will buy prescription pain killers this year at a cost of $13.2 billion
We will spend another $2.4 billion on over-the-counter pain killers
Americans spend $6 billion a year on supplements
Disability compensation for just low back pain will tally $43 billion this year
Chronic pain accounts for $100 billion per year in lost productivity and revenue
The estimated cost of treating chronic low back pain is $13,000-$20,000 per person per year
Disabled workers cost our Social Security system over $10,000 per person per year

As our elderly population grows not only in the US but across the globe, it seems unlikely that the volume of chronic pain sufferers and the costs to help treat them will go down. In fact, there are now 523 million people in the world over the age of 65, which comprises 7.6% of the total population. By 2040, the elderly are expected to more than double the number of children on planet earth. Taking into consideration the impact chronic pain can have on other chronic diseases like obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and dementia, it becomes one of our largest public health challenges.