Chronic pain exacts a heavy toll on the lives of those who suffer from it. According to new research from Johns Hopkins, the costs for society are equally heavy. Investigators sought to determine the yearly cost of chronic pain in dollars by figuring out how much additional health care chronic pain sufferers require and by measuring the cost of lowered productivity due to chronic pain.
Using data acquired from the 2008 Medical Expenditure Panel Survey, which analyzed information from more than 20,000 adults, the researchers compared the amount of money spent by chronic pain sufferers on health care to the amount spent by people who don’t have chronic pain.
For the purpose of this study, chronic pain was defined as joint pain; arthritis; or pain or disability that limited a person’s ability to work. Researchers compared health care expenses of those who met these qualifications with the expenses of those who did not. They discovered that people who experienced moderate chronic pain spent over $4,500 more per year than people without pain. People with severe pain spent more than $7,700 a year over those who didn’t suffer from chronic pain. Those who had disabilities that involved chronic pain spent nearly $10,000 more than their healthy counterparts.
The cost of pain didn’t stop with health care costs, however. Pain had a harsh impact on the productivity levels of those who contended with it on a daily basis; people who suffered pain also missed more days of work, worked fewer hours each year and received lower hourly pay.
In spite of the fact that the data used by the researchers didn’t include children, caregivers, institutionalized individuals or those in the armed forces, the researchers estimated that pain cost Americans between $560 and $635 billion each year. Other medical conditions cost more on an individual basis, but the number of chronic pain sufferers is so great that the overall cost of pain is still greater than that of most other conditions.
So why is the cost of pain so high?
As Doctors of Chiropractic, we believe that a major factor in the high cost of pain is that most traditional pain treatment focuses on making the pain go away. Alternatively, chiropractors focus on correcting the actual source of the pain.
Can chiropractors correct all sources of pain? Of course not. The better question is: Can the Doctors Gerber correct the source of your pain as we have for thousands of others? We would welcome the opportunity to evaluate you, answer that question and when appropriate, discuss treatment which could have a positive effect on your quality of life.
Your Health . . . It’s Worth It!
Dr. Kate Gerber & Dr. John Gerber