Burden of Musculoskeletal Disease

Musculoskeletal disorders and diseases are the leading cause of disability in the United States (U.S.) and account for more than half of all chronic conditions in people over 50 years of age in developed countries. Between 2009 and 2013, musculoskeletal conditions impaired and affected 1 of every 2 American adults (about 126 million people), nearly twice the rate of reported chronic cardiac or respiratory conditions. Arthritis alone, which is the most common cause of disability among adults in the U.S., is projected to affect 67 million people—25% of the adult population—by 2030. Back and neck pain affects nearly 1 in 3 adults every year, while osteoporosis affects 10 million Americans, with 18 million more (mostly women) at risk. Furthermore, nearly 18 million adults (6% of the U.S. population) reported being unable to perform at least one common activity unaided (such as walking, getting out of a chair, or self-care like bathing or going to the bathroom) because of a musculoskeletal condition.

In addition to their high prevalence, musculoskeletal disorders also account for tremendous economic costs in direct treatment expenditures as well as significant indirect costs, mainly in the form of lost productivity. In 2012, 291 million days were lost from work due to back and neck pain. Musculoskeletal conditions drove 18% of all health care visits and 16.3% of health care costs in 2011. Arthroplasty of the knee and hip alone is responsible for over 20% of the Medicare budget. $874 billion is spent annually in the U.S. on healthcare for persons with musculoskeletal diagnoses, representing 5.7% of GDP.

Source: United States Bone and Joint Initiative: The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States (BMUS); http://www.boneandjointburden.org.