Published 5/1/2015
Kevin J. Bozic, MD, MBA; Toby King

A New Look at The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases

In the United States, more than half of the adult population (18 years and older) report a chronic musculoskeletal condition. Three of the top four most commonly reported medical conditions are musculoskeletal related—chronic low back pain, joint pain, and disability from arthritis. During the period 2009–2011, average annual direct and indirect (lost work) costs attributable to persons with a musculoskeletal disease were $213 billion.

These are just some of the findings reported in the recently released third edition of The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States: Prevalence, Societal and Economic Cost (BMUS), published by the U.S. Bone and Joint Initiative (USBJI), with support from the AAOS.

The data in this newest edition of BMUS will be valuable for anyone seeking information related to the prevalence of and cost associated with the prevention and treatment of musculoskeletal disease. That includes healthcare professionals and their professional societies, policy and patient advocates, and industry. The data can be used in presentations, grant proposals, peer-reviewed manuscripts, briefings, education, business development, and advocacy efforts.

Statistics about the extent and cost of musculoskeletal conditions serve an important role in increasing awareness of musculoskeletal health, influencing public policy and supporting issues such as access to specialty care, and new approaches to treatment. The new edition and website (www.boneandjointburden.org) include improved functionality and useful tools for researchers and others.

As primarily a digital publication, BMUS provides colorful graphs that can be downloaded for use in presentations, data tables that are available as CSV/Excel or PDF files, and an interactive report builder that enables viewers to run queries and produce tailored reports.

The third edition includes a “big picture” overview, as well as chapters on low back and neck pain, spinal deformity, arthritis, osteoporosis and bone health, injuries (trauma, sports, workplace, the military), children and adolescents, special and rare conditions (tumors), and economic cost. New content will be added and chapters will be updated on a regular basis.

BMUS was originally conceived to meet the needs of researchers who lacked an accessible, reliable source of data on the health prevalence and economic burden of musculoskeletal diseases. With the advent of the U.S. Bone and Joint Decade in 2002, BMUS became a useful advocacy tool, helping to make a stronger case for investing in research on these common, disabling, and costly conditions.

Today, organizations use BMUS data to advocate and influence others; users also include decision-makers in the health services and policy communities (legislators, federal and state agencies, health providers and payers, and employers). These users have found that BMUS provides a single source to access accurate and concise information and data about musculoskeletal disorders, to support research, collaborative advocacy and education. They have used BMUS to describe impact, determine current practice, characterize a population, justify sampling, and develop Opinion Editorials (Op-Eds), blogs, grassroots advocacy, and legislative briefings. Because BMUS tells the macro value story and clearly outlines the growing need for specialty care, it has become a foundational part of telling the value story for musculoskeletal care and research.

When cited in a presentation or publication, BMUS must be referenced as follows: "United States Bone and Joint Initiative: The Burden of Musculoskeletal Diseases in the United States BMUS, Third Edition, 2014. Rosemont, IL. Available at http://www.boneandjointburden.org. Accessed on (date)."

Kevin J. Bozic, MD, MBA, chairs the AAOS Council on Research and Quality. Toby King is executive director of the USBJI. The USBJI thanks all member organizations involved in the publication, in particular the AAOS Council on Research and Quality and the AAOS department of research and scientific affairs for their key financial support.

How To Use The Site

  1. The Search field is located in the top-left corner of the screen. After typing in key words, users will be provided with all mentions of those words in the full content, graphs, and tables. Highlight “Content,” “Graphs,” or “Tables” to view specific results.
  2. Topic Content pages contain text, graphs, and links to tables. Various options are available for saving and printing each of these or complete sections. Print results depend on the browser being used.
  3. The interactive Report Builder enables users to run tailored queries on ICD and CPT codes. The ICD and CPT codes are those used by BMUS and are displayed at the top of each report. After selecting an option, users can apply filters. The Report Builder is on the right-hand side of the screen and is accessed by clicking on the Start button. A 6-step Quick Tool provides users with a tutorial for the Report Builder. Data will be updated regularly.
  4. Tables referenced in the text include links that enable users to download them as PDF or CSV/Excel files; files will open in a new window. How the files open will depend on the browser being used.
  5. Graphs are displayed within the Content view. Graph reference numbers are in the bottom right-hand corner.
  6. Topics include links to additional topics. A circle/dot to the left of the section indicates that it has no additional subsections. A solid black arrow indicates additional subsections. Left and right arrow indicators will take users to the previous or next section.
  7. All the tables in a section can be viewed by clicking on the blue “Tables” button; all the graphs in a section can be viewed by clicking on the blue “Graphs” button.
    Tables are displayed in a list in the tables-only view and can be opened by clicking on them. Links enable users to open, download, or print tables.
    A zip file enables users to download all tables in a section. Click on the “Full Content View” to return to the topic.
    Graphs are displayed in two columns in the graphs-only view and can be opened by clicking on it. Right-clicking on a graph creates a hyperlink enabling users to save it as a .png image for presentations or printing. A zip file permits users to download all graphs in a section. Click on the “Full Content View” to return to the topic.