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BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2008 Apr 21;9:54. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-9-54.

An interdisciplinary clinical practice model for the management of low-back pain in primary care: the CLIP project.

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Montreal Department of Public Health, McGill University, Montreal, Canada.



Low-back pain is responsible for significant disability and costs in industrialized countries. Only a minority of subjects suffering from low-back pain will develop persistent disability. However, this minority is responsible for the majority of costs and has the poorest health outcomes. The objective of the Clinic on Low-back pain in Interdisciplinary Practice (CLIP) project was to develop a primary care interdisciplinary practice model for the clinical management of low-back pain and the prevention of persistent disability.


Using previously published guidelines, systematic reviews and meta-analyses, a clinical management model for low-back pain was developed by the project team. A structured process facilitating discussions on this model among researchers, stakeholders and clinicians was created. The model was revised following these exchanges, without deviating from the evidence.


A model consisting of nine elements on clinical management of low-back pain and prevention of persistent disability was developed. The model's two core elements for the prevention of persistent disability are the following: 1) the evaluation of the prognosis at the fourth week of disability, and of key modifiable barriers to return to usual activities if the prognosis is unfavourable; 2) the evaluation of the patient's perceived disability every four weeks, with the evaluation and management of barriers to return to usual activities if perceived disability has not sufficiently improved.


A primary care interdisciplinary model aimed at improving quality and continuity of care for patients with low-back pain was developed. The effectiveness, efficiency and applicability of the CLIP model in preventing persistent disability in patients suffering from low-back pain should be assessed.

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