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September 2014

Indirect Costs of Back Pain and MSDs

If you have never experienced back pain, consider yourself lucky. More than 31 million Americans are afflicted with back pain1. All of those injured workers cause a serious drag on the profitability of American companies.  In our last post, we looked at the prevalence of back pain and other musculoskeletal disorders (MSDs) and their huge cost to employers.

  • An OSHA study from 1990 found that the direct costs of work-related musculoskeletal disorders totaled $15 to $18 billion dollars per year. When adjusted for inflation, that is approximately $20 to $25 billion expressed in 2014 dollars. Other estimates place the number much higher.
  • That same study found 2 million workers experience MSDs every year, with 600,000 workers missing work as a result.
  • A 2006 study in The Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery found that the total cost of low back pain to the United States totaled $33 to … 
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