Costs of shoulder pain in primary care consulters: a prospective cohort study in The Netherlands

BMC Musculoskelet Disord. 2006 Nov 1;7:83. doi: 10.1186/1471-2474-7-83.


Background: Shoulder pain is common in primary care, and has an unfavourable outcome in many patients. Information on the costs associated with health care use and loss of productivity in patients with shoulder pain is very scarce. The objective of this study was to determine shoulder pain related costs during the 6 months after first consultation in general practice

Methods: A prospective cohort study consisting of 587 patients with a new episode of shoulder pain was conducted with a follow-up period of 6 months. Data on costs were collected by means of a cost diary during 6 months.

Results: 84% of the patients completed all cost diaries. The mean consumption of direct health care and non-health related care was low. During 6 months after first consultation for shoulder pain, the mean total costs a patient generated were 689 euro. Almost 50% of this total concerned indirect costs, caused by sick leave from paid work. A small proportion (12%) of the population generated 74% of the total costs.

Conclusion: The total costs in the 6 months after first consultation for shoulder pain in primary care, mostly generated by a small part of the population, are not alarmingly high.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Activities of Daily Living
  • Adult
  • Cohort Studies
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Efficiency
  • Family Practice*
  • Female
  • Health Care Surveys
  • Health Expenditures / statistics & numerical data*
  • Health Expenditures / trends
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Medical Records
  • Middle Aged
  • Netherlands / epidemiology
  • Patient Acceptance of Health Care / statistics & numerical data
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / economics
  • Physical Therapy Modalities / statistics & numerical data
  • Prospective Studies
  • Shoulder Joint / physiopathology*
  • Shoulder Pain / economics*
  • Shoulder Pain / epidemiology*
  • Shoulder Pain / therapy
  • Sick Leave / statistics & numerical data