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. 2005 Apr;76(2):275-84.
doi: 10.1080/00016470510030698.

The Economic Cost of Low Back Pain in Sweden in 2001


The Economic Cost of Low Back Pain in Sweden in 2001

Mattias Ekman et al. Acta Orthop. .


Background: Low back pain (LBP) is a common cause of lost work days and disability. In 2001, expenditure for back pain represented 11% of the total costs for short-term sick leave in Sweden, and about 13% of all early retirement pensions were granted for back problems, of which LBP is the most important symptom. The magnitude of LBP as a health problem justifies a closer look at its burden of illness to society.

Materials and methods: We assessed the costs of LBP to society in Sweden in 2001. The study was conducted in a cost-of-illness framework, measuring both the direct costs of providing health care to LBP patients, and the indirect costs as the value of the production that is lost because people are too ill to work. The costs were estimated by a prevalence and top-down approach.

Results: The total cost of LBP was 1860 million EUR in Sweden in 2001. The indirect costs due to lost productivity accounted for 84% of the total cost.

Interpretation: The cost of illness due to low back pain was substantial, but does not appear to have risen during the last 10-15 years.

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