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Treating neck and back pain is costing Americans $134 billion a year, according to new study

Treating neck and back pain is costing Americans $134 billion a year, according to new study
(Image credit: Getty)

Americans spend more on medical treatments for back and neck pain than treatments for diabetes or heart disease, according to a new study from JAMA, a journal from the American Medical Association. 

The study found that the amount Americans are spending on healthcare has increased from an estimated $1.4 trillion in 1996 to an estimated $3.1 trillion in 2016 - that averages out at an annual cost of $9655 per person.

Of that, back and neck pain accounted for $134 billion, meaning it's behind more health spending than diabetes ($111 billion) and heart disease ($89 billion). 

Tackling neck and back pain

Although back and neck pain may be seen as less severe than diseases, "about 80 percent of adults experience low back pain at some point in their lifetimes." According to the NIH, "it is the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work days."

This suggests that, like diabetes (which affects 10% of the population) and heart disease (which affects 7%), back and neck pain can often be caused by our lifestyles and working conditions. In fact, issues also associated with diabetes and heart disease, such as older age, obesity and a sedentary lifestyle, could also be a leading cause of neck and back pain.

Everybody's different, and it's always worth going to your doctor if you're experiencing any type of pain. They'll be able to give you specialist pain or help to detect the specific causes of your discomfort. 

It may be the case that a poor night's sleep could be responsible for back pain, and if you do experience this, our Purple Mattress review found it to be the best mattress for back and joint pain. The best treadmills for your size and needs will also help you to shed extra weight or add some activity to your lifestyle. 

9.2% of those surveyed had paid out-of-pocket for neck and back treatment. If you're experiencing pain or discomfort, check out the best health insurance companies for you.