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Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases

Musculoskeletal diseases are the most common health condition in the United States.

  • Estimated U.S. cost for treatment of all persons with a musculoskeletal disease diagnosis and indirect lost wages was $849 billion annually for the years 2002 to 2004, 7.7% of the gross domestic product.1
  • The aging boomer generation, persons aged 45 to 64, accounts for an increasingly greater proportion of total musculoskeletal disease treatment cost and lost wages, a trend that will continue for the next several decades.
  • One in two adults reported a chronic musculoskeletal condition in 2005, twice the rate of reported chronic circulatory (heart condition) or respiratory conditions.2

Musculoskeletal diseases are frequent cause for seeking medical care.3

  • More than 30% of Americans require medical care because of a musculoskeletal disease.
  • Back pain accounted for more than 53 million health care visits in 2004.
  • Arthritis accounted for more than 44 million ambulatory care visits and 1 million hospitalizations in 2004.
  • Musculoskeletal injuries accounted for more than 57 million health care visits in 2004, 60% of all injury treatment visits.

Musculoskeletal diseases are a major cause of disability and lost work time.

  • 15 million adults, 7% of the adult U.S. population, report difficulty performing routine activities of daily living due to a musculoskeletal condition. Nearly one-half are between the ages of 45 and 64.2
  • Back pain was the cause of 313.5 million bed days and 186.7 million lost work days in 2004.2
  • Musculoskeletal disorders for work-related injuries account for one-third of days away from work.4
  • One in two women and one in four men over the age of 50 will have an osteoporosis-related fracture in his or her remaining lifetime. Hip fractures are associated with chronic pain, reduced mobility, and increasing dependence, with a 20% mortality rate in the first 12 months.[5|]
  • Although less frequent, millions of children and adults suffer from spinal deformities, musculoskeletal congenital conditions, and cancers of bone and connective tissue, reducing quality of life and longevity.

These facts are taken from The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States, a joint project of the United States Bone and Joint Decade and several participating organizations.

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