Chronic pain is a common, costly issue in Minnesota – and the country


In 2012, one out of every 19 insured Minnesotans had some sort of procedure done to address an issue with continued pain.

That's according to a new study by the state's Department of Health, which looked at health care data from 2010-2012. The department found about 83,000 Minnesotans each year had a procedure done to address chronic pain – which WedMD describes as pain that lasts six months or more.

Treating chronic pain is expensive

Here's why health experts care: Chronic pain affects a lot of people, and it's expensive.

About 100 million Americans deal with it, and every year, the cost associated with treating it reaches more than $600 billion, the Institute of Medicine says.

It's unclear how much exactly is spent in Minnesota – the state's Department of Health says it needs to look at the data more.

What procedures are we talking about?

Chronic pain is usually associated with things such as skeletal or muscular disorders, joint issues (arthritis, for example), back issues and more.

The procedures can involve an injection to temporarily dull the pain, or surgery to create some longer-term fix.

The number of procedures tied to chronic pain is going up, the Department of Health says, jumping 13.2 percent from 2010-2012.

Some other notes from the report:

  • 518 chronic pain procedures were performed for every 10,000 covered Minnesotans within the state – roughly one procedure for every 19 persons.
  • Female patients accounted for 62 percent of procedures.
  • Patients over age 60 accounted for 44 percent.

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