Americans are spending more money trying to ease back and neck pain as cost of diagnosing and treating these problems rose substantially over the past decade, according to findings in The Journal of the American Medical Association quoted by media reports Wednesday.
Spending on spine treatments totaled nearly 86 billion U.S. dollars in 2005, a rise of 65 percent from 1997, after adjusting for inflation, the findings said.
Researchers examined annual household survey data from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, which was collected from about 23,000 people a year from 1997 to 2005.
They found that people with spine problems spent about 6,096 dollars each on medical care in 2005 compared with 3,516 dollars in medical spending by those without spine problems.
The biggest surge in spending has been for drugs. In 2005, Americans spent an estimated 20 billion dollars on drug treatments for back and neck problems, an increase of 171 percent from 1997. The biggest jump was for narcotic pain relievers, like OxyContin and other drugs, which increased more than 400 percent.
Outpatient treatment for back and neck problems increased 74 percent to about 31 billion dollars during the period, while spending related to emergency room visits grew by 46 percent to 2.6 billion dollars. Spending for surgical procedures and other inpatient costs grew by 25 percent to about 24 billion dollars.
(Agencies via Xinhua News Agency February 13, 2008)