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Musculoskeletal diseases aren't just widespread— they've also become a significant factor in the economy, with associated costs estimated at an amount equal to 5.76% of the US gross domestic product. That's just 1 of the insights offered in the latest edition of a detailed report on the impact of musculoskeletal conditions across the country.

Advance-published sections of the US Bone and Joint Initiative's (USBJI) 4th edition of "The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the US" are now being rolled out at the USBJI website. The report compiles extensive data on a wide range of conditions, including low back pain, neck pain, arthritis, osteoporosis, and injuries both in aggregate and among special populations, and includes insight on economic impact. The latest edition also features a new section on neuromuscular diseases.

According to USBJI, more than half of all adults in the US now report a chronic musculoskeletal condition—a rate that outpaces the prevalence of reported respiratory conditions (24%) and circulatory conditions including high blood pressure (42%). Chronic low back pain, joint pain, and disability make up 3 of the top 5 most commonly reported medical conditions, the report states.

In turn, musculoskeletal conditions have become a major factor in health care costs—an estimated $332 billion between 2012 and 2014, according to USBJI, with costs likely to increase with an aging US population.

Three chapters of the latest edition are now available, with more to be released in the coming weeks. USBJI hopes that the resources will help to highlight the need for more resources devoted to addressing prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal disorders.

"In spite of [the overall prevalence and significant costs], research funding for musculoskeletal-related conditions remains substantially below that of other major health conditions, such as cancer and respiratory and circulatory diseases," the report states. "If health care costs in the future are to be contained, musculoskeletal diseases must come to the forefront of research."

APTA is a founding member of USBJI.


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