Cost of illness studies cannot in themselves answer questions concerning the effectiveness or cost-effectiveness of therapies, and so cannot be used to determine if too much or too little is being spent in any particular area. However, by indicating the magnitude and pattern of expenditure they can help to guide research priorities and indicate how much scope exists to improve the efFIcient use of scarce health care resources.
The results of this study suggest that research into cost-effective interventions to prevent and treat back pain should be a priority.
This paper reports the results of a `cost-of-illness' study of the socio-economic costs of back pain in the UK. It estimates the direct health care cost of back pain in 1998 to be £1632 million.
However, the direct cost of back pain is insignficant compared to the cost of informal care and the production losses related to it, which total £10668 million.
Overall, back pain is one of the most costly conditions for which an economic analysis has been carried out in the UK and this is in line with findings in other countries.
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BACK PAIN COSTS
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