Socio-demographic factors influence costs of back pain

June 17, 2008

It is well-known that back pain belongs to the most frequent health problems in the industrial nations and, it is also well-known that it is the cause of considerable costs for health insurance schemes and the economy. In the period of just one year, 70 % of adult Germans suffer from back pain.

Together with scientists from the Institute for Community Medicine of the Ernst-Moritz-Arndt-Universität in Greifswald, Christina Wenig and Bernd Schweikert of the Institute of Health Economics and Health Care Management of the Helmholtz Zentrum München - German Research Center for Environmental Health have now scrutinized socio-demographic variables of patients as potential cost-influencing parameters.

For the first time, in a German so-called "Bottom-up study", scientists examined how gender, age, education and marital status might possibly affect the costs caused by back pain. The advantage of this method is that the most important components of costs were able to be identified, and also variability and distribution of costs could be explained. 9,267 Germans were included in questioning by the German Back Pain Research Network (GBPRN); the result was extrapolated to the whole population aged 18 to 75. The results were accepted for publication in the European Journal of Pain.

The team found out that on average a cost of € 1,322 per patient per annum was caused by back pain. Direct costs, namely expenses, which originated out of treating the pain, were 46 %. Correspondingly, indirect costs, namely losses of production, stood at about 54 %. The highest costs occurred at the age of 50. Among patients who claimed benefits, social circumstances such as unemployment, low education and living alone also appeared to increase costs. The researchers found the clearest correlation between pain grade and costs. Altogether the researchers estimated the costs caused by back pain in Germany at € 48.9 billion that is 2.2 % of the German Gross Domestic Product. Expenses caused by prevention or therapy measures represented a share in of 9.7 %. Patients had also often to pay out of their own pocket.

The study results suggest that effective prevention programs can lower expenses both in the private and public sectors. In addition, the knowledge can help to direct main focuses of research as well as to use the budget sensibly for innovative medical strategies.

Source: German Research Center for Environmental Health

Explore further: With no morphine, 25 million die in pain each year: report

Related Stories

With no morphine, 25 million die in pain each year: report

October 13, 2017
Every year, some 25 million people—one in ten of them children—die in serious pain that could have been alleviated with morphine at just a few cents per dose, researchers said Friday.

Hepatitis C drug's lower cost paves way for Medicaid, prisons to expand treatment

October 11, 2017
Valerie Green is still waiting to be cured.

Sleeping on your back increases risks of stillbirth

October 12, 2017
Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness day on Oct. 15, 2017 draws our attention to a bleak statistic—an estimated one in four pregnancies end in a loss. Many of these are early miscarriages. But in Canada about one in 125 ...

Playing a conversation game may encourage advance care planning

October 11, 2017
Few people may want to spend a Saturday night planning their end-of-life care, but playing a game designed to spur conversation about advance care planning may be a more enjoyable way to ease into the process, according to ...

Mitochondrial DNA could predict risk for sudden cardiac death, heart disease

October 11, 2017
Johns Hopkins researchers report that the level, or "copy number," of mitochondrial DNA—genetic information stored not in a cell's nucleus but in the body's energy-creating mitochondria—is a novel and distinct biomarker ...

A little exercise a day keeps the blues at bay

October 9, 2017
You've probably heard exercise boosts mental health. But when you're not feeling up for high-intensity spin class, can you still reap some benefits just from walking the dog?

Recommended for you

Drug therapy from lethal bacteria could reduce kidney transplant rejection

August 3, 2017
An experimental treatment derived from a potentially deadly microorganism may provide lifesaving help for kidney transplant patients, according to an international study led by investigators at Cedars-Sinai.

Exploring the potential of human echolocation

June 25, 2017
People who are visually impaired will often use a cane to feel out their surroundings. With training and practice, people can learn to use the pitch, loudness and timbre of echoes from the cane or other sounds to navigate ...

Team eradicates hepatitis C in 10 patients following lifesaving transplants from infected donors

April 30, 2017
Ten patients at Penn Medicine have been cured of the Hepatitis C virus (HCV) following lifesaving kidney transplants from deceased donors who were infected with the disease. The findings point to new strategies for increasing ...

'bench to bedside to bench': Scientists call for closer basic-clinical collaborations

March 24, 2017
In the era of genome sequencing, it's time to update the old "bench-to-bedside" shorthand for how basic research discoveries inform clinical practice, researchers from The Jackson Laboratory (JAX), National Human Genome Research ...

The ethics of tracking athletes' biometric data

January 18, 2017
(Medical Xpress)—Whether it is a FitBit or a heart rate monitor, biometric technologies have become household devices. Professional sports leagues use some of the most technologically advanced biodata tracking systems to ...

Financial ties between researchers and drug industry linked to positive trial results

January 18, 2017
Financial ties between researchers and companies that make the drugs they are studying are independently associated with positive trial results, suggesting bias in the evidence base, concludes a study published by The BMJ ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.