Rate of hospital stays for back problems doubled

Between 1993 and 2008, the rate of hospital stays for patients with any diagnosis for back problems more than doubled, according to a statistical brief from the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality.

Back pain leads to about 9,400 visits a day to the emergency room. In 2008, that added up to 3.4 million ED visits.

That same year more than 663,000 hospital stays were related to back surgery or other back treatments. Those hospital stays for patients where a back problem is the principal diagnosis tend to be more expensive in average cost per day than stays for patients without back problems ($6,511 vs. $2.323).

While adults ages 18 to 44 were more likely to show up in the ER for back pain, seniors ages 65 to 84 are far more likely to be hospitalized for back problems.

To learn more:
- read the AHRQ statistical brief