I’ve treated many patients with neck injuries over the years and there is often a cycle of repeated flareups in their pain. I’ve learned that neck pain can take a toll on the psyche of the person dealing with it as well as their family.
A recent study also points to the long term financial impact of neck pain.
Spine recently published an article citing the costs incurred by patients and their families due to neck injuries.
They actually looked at 94,000 patients and compared them to patients without neck injuries. They discovered that there were additional costs associated with health care but they found an increase in what they called “indirect” costs. These included work disability and social security payments.
Across these broad categories of direct and indirect costs were increased costs for those patients suffering neck injuries.
“Neck injury patients had significantly higher rates of health-related contacts, medication use and higher socioeconomic costs than controls,” Dr Jennum and coauthors write.
There is a lot of truth to the saying that an “ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.”
Chronic neck pain takes a larger toll than many initially realize and it is imperative to take the right approach when dealing with it.
Many people take over the counter medication as a first resort. It’s cheap, accessible and often times effective at taking away the pain. But the pain is often not the problem. It may be a symptom of the actual problem – the medication is merely masking the symptom.
Sure, the pain is gone temporarily, but the problem remains. I suspect many chronic pain patients fit this picture. What could have been a relatively short rehabilitative process becomes a chronic costly condition. A better approach is to find the cause of the pain and address this first rather than spending time and dollars chasing the symptom!
If you or someone you know is experiencing neck pain or had a recent injury – call us, we’re here to help!
Wolters Kluwer Health: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins (2013, March 11). Neck injuries linked to high costs for patients and spouses, study reports. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 30, 2013, from http://www.sciencedaily.com /releases/2013/03/130311123751.htm