Back Pain Spending Up, Relief Down

In addition, "there's been a steady stream of new devices and surgical techniques and imaging methods being used over time," he pointed out. "There's also been a moderate increase in people with back problems."

The annual expenditures for spine problems are comparable to the amount spent annually on arthritis, diabetes and cancer. All of those figures are dwarfed by the enormous sums spent in this country on heart disease and stroke.

More information

The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke has more on back pain.

SOURCES: Brook Martin, M.P.H., research scientist, department of orthopedics and sports medicine, University of Washington, Seattle; Andrew Sherman, M.D., assistant professor, and head, medical rehabilitation, Spine Institute, University of Miami Miller School of Medicine; Feb. 13, 2008, Journal of the American Medical Association

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