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BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2011 Aug 22;12:194. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-12-194.

Study protocol of cost-effectiveness and cost-utility of a biopsychosocial multidisciplinary intervention in the evolution of non-specific sub-acute low back pain in the working population: cluster randomised trial.

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Institut Universitari d'Investigació en Atenció Primària Jordi Gol (IDIAP Jordi Gol), Institut Català de la Salut, C/Gran Via de les Corts Catalanes 587 àtic, 08007 Barcelona, Spain.



Low back pain (LBP), with high incidence and prevalence rate, is one of the most common reasons to consult the health system and is responsible for a significant amount of sick leave, leading to high health and social costs. The objective of the study is to assess the cost-effectiveness and cost-utility analysis of a multidisciplinary biopsychosocial educational group intervention (MBEGI) of non-specific sub-acute LBP in comparison with the usual care in the working population recruited in primary healthcare centres.


The study design is a cost-effectiveness and cost-utility analysis of a MBEGI in comparison with the usual care of non-specific sub-acute LBP.Measures on effectiveness and costs of both interventions will be obtained from a cluster randomised controlled clinical trial carried out in 38 Catalan primary health care centres, enrolling 932 patients between 18 and 65 years old with a diagnosis of non-specific sub-acute LBP. Effectiveness measures are: pharmaceutical treatments, work sick leave (% and duration in days), Roland Morris disability, McGill pain intensity, Fear Avoidance Beliefs (FAB) and Golberg Questionnaires. Utility measures will be calculated from the SF-12. The analysis will be performed from a social perspective. The temporal horizon is at 3 months (change to chronic LBP) and 12 months (evaluate the outcomes at long term).Assessment of outcomes will be blinded and will follow the intention-to-treat principle.


We hope to demonstrate the cost-effectiveness and cost-utility of MBEGI, see an improvement in the patients' quality of life, achieve a reduction in the duration of episodes and the chronicity of non-specific low back pain, and be able to report a decrease in the social costs. If the intervention is cost-effectiveness and cost-utility, it could be applied to Primary Health Care Centres.



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