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Industry Insights
Freeing an Aging Population from Pain
Industry Insights

The United States population is aging quickly—a change driven by a booming segment of older adults (age 65 and above), which recorded the fastest growth rate in the past 10 years since the late 19th century (Caplan, 2023). This shift has huge implications for healthcare. The industry must quickly determine how to handle dramatic upswings in utilization rates stemming from age-related conditions. 

Musculoskeletal (MSK) disorders top the list of these age-related issues (USBJI, 2018). Over 68 percent of older adults suffer from back and joint pain—conditions that commonly spiral into decreased mobility, reduced quality of life, and other costly healthcare complications. As the U.S. population climbs in age, the number of MSK conditions—and their negative financial impact—will only continue to rise, calling for a swift and effective action plan to tackle the problem of age-related MSK pain.

Addressing an older adult’s pain points

It’s now more crucial than ever for payers to understand the largest pain points in the MSK journey for the older population. The most common roadblocks to effective care include:


Most health conditions don’t exist in a vacuum, and MSK disorders are no different, especially in older individuals who are more prone to health challenges. The most common comorbidities found alongside MSK disorders are high blood pressure, high cholesterol, obesity, smoking, diabetes, heart attack, osteoporosis, and depression (Ziade, 2020). Many of these conditions exacerbate the symptoms of the others, resulting in significantly worse outcomes such as long-term disability, excessive healthcare consumption, reduced quality of life, and higher mortality rates (Ziade, 2020). In order to appropriately address MSK pain, older adults need access to a whole-person care model that takes comorbidities into account and works toward holistic health improvements.

Limited access

Transportation is a challenge for many members, but older adults with mobility-limiting conditions face additional barriers to care. Up to 26 percent of older individuals struggle with mobility disability and must rely on family, friends, and/or caregivers to help them travel to and from their appointments (Remillard, 2022). Adding MSK conditions to the mix further complicates transportation challenges for these individuals, making it much more difficult to consistently access the right care. This is especially true in rural parts of the country, where a lack of specialists worsens the access equation. Indeed, we have found that members over 65 years of age living in rural areas are more than 35 percent more likely to use telehealth services than those in urban and suburban areas.

Fear of injury

Regular activity is fundamental to MSK prevention and overall health. But resistance to exercising—especially alone—extends well beyond understood causes like lack of time, access, or motivation. Fear of injury prevents many individuals, most notably older members, from engaging in regular exercise due to age-related frailty and concerns about exacerbating MSK pain with the wrong activities (Cavallini, 2022). To effectively address MSK conditions, members need more than a computer-generated list of prescribed exercises—they need an MSK expert to answer questions as they arise, modify exercises as needed, and eventually recommend a preventative movement program for ongoing maintenance and health. By forming a therapeutic alliance with clinicians first, older members gain the guidance and confidence they need to stay active and prevent further injuries.

Pain Care Solution: meeting the unmet needs of an aging population

Physical therapy as a stand-alone service is not enough to solve for pain in older adults. Knowing this, Vori Health teamed up with WholeHealth Living to create a comprehensive Pain Care Solutiona one-stop shop combining the best of MSK telemedicine, physical therapy, integrative health, and senior-focused fitness. 

Vori Health operates as the program’s care navigator and virtual front door. Its doctor-led care team provides older adults with MSK issues convenient telehealth medical treatment as well as physician oversight throughout the entire care journey. Vori clinicians take a whole-person approach to each member’s condition, factoring comorbidities into a highly personalized treatment plan which may include virtual physical therapy, health coaching, as well as navigation to WholeHealth Living’s integrative network of chiropractors, acupuncturists, and massage therapists. To promote ongoing health and prevention, Vori also curates a member’s engagement with Tivity Health’s nationally-recognized fitness program SilverSneakers.  

At each point in the program, members receive continual physician guidance to stay on track and reduce unnecessary care escalations. This holistic approach, which has been certified by the Validation Institute for low back conditions, is proven to lower pain while also reducing surgeries, imaging, and injections. Ninety-one percent of patients with lower back pain report improvement in pain, and less than three percent are referred to surgery. 

By addressing the unmet MSK needs of a booming older adult population, the Pain Care Solution delivers better clinical outcomes and significant financial savings with up to a 4:1 ROI.

Learn more about how this comprehensive program can transform MSK health and lower costs for your elderly population.

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