Bone and Joint Health National Awareness Week is October 12-20. This week long, global event, focuses on disorders including arthritis, back pain, osteoporosis and trauma. The events and projects organized
by individuals and organizations worldwide are designed to raise awareness of prevention, disease management and treatments as well as advances in a number of areas.
Arthritis is the inflammation of the joints and can refer to the more than 100 rheumatic diseases that can cause pain, stiffness and swelling in the joints. More than 40 million Americans suffer from some form of arthritis and many have chronic pain that limits daily activity. Osteoarthritis is the most common form of arthritis, affecting 16 million Americans, while rheumatoid arthritis, which affects about 2.1 million Americans, is the most crippling of the disease.
Back Pain includes lower back, middle back upper back or low back pain and sciatica. Nerve and muscular problems, degenerative disc disease, and arthritis can result in back pain. Symptoms can range from
persistent aching or stiffness anywhere along the spine to the inability to stand straight up without having pain or muscle spasm. Osteoporosis, or thinning bones, can result in painful fractures include aging, being female, low body weight, low sex hormones or menopause, smoking and some medications. Prevention and treatment includes calcium and vitamin D, exercise and prescription medications.
Many times, a person isn’t even aware they have osteoporosis until they fracture a bone. Generally, symptoms includes backache, gradual loss of height with an accompanying stooped posture, and fractures of
the spine, wrist or hip.
- Nearly half the American population over the age of 18 are affected by musculoskeletal (bone and joint) conditions, according to The Burden of Musculoskeletal Conditions in the United States.
- Bone and joint conditions are the most common cause of severe long-term pain and physical disability worldwide affecting hundreds of millions of people.
- Musculoskeletal conditions include back pain, arthritis, traumatic injuries, osteoporosis and childhood conditions.
- Unless actions are taken now, the global prevalence of musculoskeletal conditions is predicted to increase greatly due to increasing life expectancy, changes in risk factors and availability of appropriate
- Musculoskeletal conditions can lead to significant disability plus diminished productivity and quality of life. Treatment and lost wage costs associated with musculoskeletal diseases in the U.S. alone was
estimated at $950 billion in 2004 to 2006 – equal to 7.4 percent of gross domestic product (GDP).
- Research funding is currently less than 2 percent of the National Institutes of Health annual budget, despite the high costs associated with these conditions.
Since 2011, when “Baby Boomers” became beneficiaries of Medicare, the economic and societal cost of bone and joint health began to escalate and is expected to continue for decades.
When should you call your doctor?
- if you feel numbness, tingling or weakness in your arms and legs;
- if the pain increases when you cough or bend forward;
- if you begin to have problems controlling your bowels or bladder,seek immediate medical attention;
- if your pain lasts more than a month;
- if it gets worse even after you rest;
- if you experience nighttime pain.
Sources: U.S. Bone and Joint Initiative and WebMD