A population-based analysis of healthcare utilization of persons with back disorders: results from the Canadian Community Health Survey 2000-2001

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2006 Jan 15;31(2):212-8. doi: 10.1097/01.brs.0000194773.10461.9f.


Study design: A retrospective, population-based analysis.

Objectives: To analyze the utilization of a variety of healthcare services for persons with and without a chronic back disorder, and to identify factors associated with specific patterns of healthcare resource use.

Summary of background data: Although there have been studies of how chronic back disorders influence the use of specific healthcare services, we do not currently have a broad, population-based overview of how this condition influences healthcare service utilization.

Methods: Person-level data were taken from the 2000-2001 Canadian Community Health Survey (CCHS), a nationwide cross-sectional survey of health determinants, health status, and health system utilization of Canadians. A series of binary logistic regressions examining healthcare resource utilization were performed on a full study sample (n = 113,229), as well as a restricted sample (n = 36,713) with attention focused on subjects with a single diagnosis of a chronic back disorder.

Results: Persons with chronic back disorders were more likely to use physician resources (multivariate odds ratio [OR] = 1.2; 95% confidence interval, 1.1-1.2), and nonphysician resources (OR range, 2.1-3.6) compared with persons without the condition, with chiropractic care having an odds ratio of 3.6 (95% confidence interval, 3.5-3.8). Higher socioeconomic status, the presence of activity-limiting pain, and depressive symptoms were associated with a significant increase in utilization of almost all healthcare services.

Conclusions: With increasing disability as indicated by the presence of pain and functional limitations, and the presence of depressive symptoms, the higher the utilization of physician and nonphysician resources, with the exception of chiropractic care, which appears to be used by those with less severe symptoms. Lower socioeconomic status was associated with significantly lower receipt of services for almost all healthcare providers.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Back Pain / epidemiology*
  • Back Pain / therapy
  • Canada / epidemiology
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Data Collection
  • Female
  • Health Surveys*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care*