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The Many Costs of Back Injuries

Back pain can occur as the result of spinal cord injury in football players, as well as from lifting, an accident, or other types of trauma to the back and spine. Regardless of how it may have occurred, a back injury can force you to miss work due to your pain and necessary doctors’ visits, but even the simplest tasks, such as walking, sitting, and even laughing can become painful pursuits. It all adds up to placing your life on hold for greatly extended periods of time.

The Personal Costs of Back Pain

back problemsThe individual amount of money spent by back injury sufferers will differ, according to the severity of their injury. However, any time spent in enough pain to be unable to get out of bed can mean an inability to run errands, take the kids to school, or even just spend time with them.

If patients have small children, for example, the costs of an injury can increase if they need to send their children to childcare or daycare. Similarly, if patients are unable to complete household chores like cutting grass or washing their vehicles, additional money may need to be spent in order to hire someone to complete these tasks.

Although these costs may not be significant over a short period, they can quickly add up in cases where pain is chronic, and/or where symptoms persist over long periods of time.

Another aspect of personal cost is the social stigma that’s often associated with back pain. As sufferers are aware, pain is both personal and subjective. It is impossible for others to feel the pain that a patient is feeling. As a result, patients’ pain may be downplayed by loved ones, who may tell them it’s “all in your head.”

Because they may not show their pain outwardly, patients can also be dismissed by their coworkers as not being in distress. This can be very difficult for individuals to handle, as being in constant pain can drain energy, and then they must deal with the stigma associated with it.

Another way that sufferers can experience stigma is when they require medication prescribed by their spine team in Texas to manage their pain. Some medications can be associated with addiction, leading people to assume that people are dependent when they are not. This can cause patients significant emotional pain.

What It Costs to Treat Back Injuries

Back Aches and Pains

As with the personal costs of back injury, the financial cost for patients for treatment of their
injuries will also vary widely according to type and severity. For example, some individuals may only need to rest or purchase pain relievers off the shelf in order to manage their pain.

Other patients may require visits to doctors and other professionals such as physiotherapists, naturopaths, chiropractors, or acupuncturists. All of these can become very expensive to continue over a long period of time.

Surgery for back injuries can also be very costly. However, it appears that a higher number of patients may be seeking surgery than ever before. This can be as the result of having suffered pain for a long time and, simply, wanting the pain to end quickly.

If patients haven’t experienced pain relief in other ways, surgery can seem like the only option left to them. Other patients may see surgery as the option with a lesser cost when compared to the long-term costs of pain maintenance via prescription medications.

Economic Impact of Back Injury

The cost of back pain to the country’s health system can be significant. Although it may not seem so, patients’ inability to work can end up costing much more than via the increased need for childcare and similar expenses.

The statistics clearly illustrate how much back pain costs the country every year. Back pain represents the country’s second-leading cause of missed days at work, being responsible for as many as seven work days lost per person. When this is multiplied by the estimated 25.9 million employees that were working in 2004, this number increases to nearly 187 million days lost.1

With all of the above considered, the total financial cost translates to billions of dollars. When inflation and the fact that the demand for treatments and surgery by spine specialists in Dallas for back pain has increased over time, it becomes easy to see the economic impact of this condition on the country’s economy.

Prescription Medication Dependency

Shoulder Pain

The long-term use of prescription pain medications can be very costly for patients, and can also have an impact on the economy, should they have a high dependency risk. Dependency can occur when a person’s tolerance to a drug increases over time.

With increased tolerance, patients need to take a prescription pain relief medication sooner than recommended by the doctor. This means that more of the drug is being put into their system over time, leading to increased dependency in order to achieve the same level of pain relief.

Prescription drug dependency will inevitably impact the patients’ personal costs, as well as increase the costs on an economic level. When dependency occurs, treatment for the dependency will be needed. Dependency treatments can involve the administering of medications which, themselves, carry the risk of dependency.

The administering of this treatment requires medical professionals and, if the treatment has a risk of dependency, frequent monitoring by professionals will be required to ensure that this is not occurring.

Treatment for the mental aspects of dependency may include counseling, group therapy, and psychologist visits, all which can add to the economic cost and the patient’s own financial cost.

The total economic cost to treat dependency on prescription medications can be in the hundreds of billions of dollars. This is currently being seen with the opioid crisis, which continues to affect millions of people in the United States.

Options for Back Pain Treatment

Back Pain

Where the administering of prescription medications and simpler treatments like rest, off-the-shelf medications, and similar options are not enough to alleviate back pain, surgery can be an option. Thankfully, today’s advanced technologies have resulted in surgeries that are far less invasive than their counterparts of previous years.

Lumbar spinal fusion is a common surgery for lower back pain, as is lumbar laminectomy and the insertion of pedicle screws and rods. Patients experiencing pain in their mid-back may require treatment for a herniated thoracic disc.

In individuals with neck pain, an injection of epidural steroids may relieve pain. However, in more serious cases, many options, such as bone grafts, cervical fusion, and corpectomy may be considered.

Process for Surgical Treatment of Back Injury

In truth, the best surgery for any person experiencing pain as the result of a back injury is as individual as patients themselves. Only through consultation with a highly qualified spine surgeon and a team of health professionals can individuals make the most informed and best decision for themselves.

The process begins with an initial visit to a surgeon or specialist to get the actual problem diagnosed. The best way to ensure you receive the ideal treatment for your injury is to find a supportive surgeon who will empower you to make the healthiest decisions.

Your surgeon should understand and empathize with your concerns about spinal surgery, and you should never feel as though you are being pressured to choose one procedure over another. A surgeon who addresses the big picture of your back and spinal health will offer you the best chances of recovery.

By understanding several aspects of your own life, and then applying their own specialized knowledge and expertise as well as the latest technologies, surgeons can educate you about your condition and the many options available to treat it.

360 Back & Spine Center Can Help

If you are in pain due to a cervical spine injury in sports or due to becoming injured at work or at home, 360 Back & Spine Center can help. Dedicated to providing you with every possible option for treatment, the expert help we offer can help to reduce, relieve, or eliminate your back or neck pain so that you can enjoy life again. For more information, call (682) 808-4389.

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