About 3.4 million emergency department (ED) visits—an average of 9,400 visits a day—were specifically for back problems at US hospitals in 2008, with adults aged 18 to 44 the most likely to require just emergency department care, according to the latest News and Numbers from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ). In the same year, there were more than 663,000 inpatient stays principally for back surgery or other back disorder treatments.
AHRQ's statistical brief also reports that while seniors aged 65 to 84 were the least likely to visit an ED, they had the highest rates of hospitalization. Men were less likely than women to need ED care or be hospitalized for back pain. The overall costs for inpatient stays principally for back problems exceeded $9.5 billion in 2008, making it the 9th most expensive condition treated in US hospitals.
Emergency Department Visits and Inpatient Stays Related to Back Problems, 2008 uses data from AHRQ's 2008 Nationwide Emergency Department Sample and 2008 data from its Nationwide Inpatient Sample.