The Cost of Pain Relief

Posted on Jan 30, 2013

Pain relief is expensive. The annual cost to individuals, insurance companies and Medicare has been estimated to be as much as $319 billion. One study reported in the Journal of Pain stated that individuals with moderate pain paid $4,475 per year more for health care costs than individuals without pain. Patients with severe pain paid an additional $3,210. Yet treatment is often ineffective since 57% of all adults report chronic or recurrent pain annually.

The impact of pain on business has also been estimated by a number of sources. The American Academy of Pain Medicine (AAPM) estimates that the annual cost to businesses for lost productivity is $297.4 - $335.5 billion. This is not only for sick days, but also for reduced productivity by employees who do come to work even though they hurt. AAPM reports that back pain alone in workers ages 45 to 60 costs employers $7.4 billion/year.