Three-year cost analysis of function-centred versus pain-centred inpatient rehabilitation in patients with chronic non-specific low back pain

J Rehabil Med. 2009 Nov;41(11):919-23. doi: 10.2340/16501977-0449.


Objective: To compare costs of function- and pain-centred inpatient treatment in patients with chronic low back pain over 3 years of follow-up.

Design: Cost analysis of a randomized controlled trial.

Patients: A total of 174 patients with chronic low back pain were randomized to function- or pain-centred inpatient treatment.

Methods: Data on direct and indirect costs were gathered by questionnaires sent to patients, health insurance providers, employers, and the Swiss Disability Insurance Company.

Results: There was a non-significant difference in total medical costs after 3 years' follow-up. Total costs were 77,305 Euros in the function-centred inpatient treatment group and 83,085 Euros in the pain-centred inpatient treatment group. Likewise, indirect costs after 3 years from lost work days were non-significantly lower in the function-centred in-patient treatment group (6354 Euros; 95% confidence interval -20,892, 8392) and direct medical costs were non-significantly higher in the function-centred inpatient treatment group (574 Euros; 95% confidence interval -862, 2011).

Conclusion: The total costs of function-centred and pain-centred inpatient treatment were similar over the whole 3-year follow-up.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Chronic Disease
  • Cost of Illness
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Exercise Therapy
  • Female
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Health Care Costs
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / economics
  • Low Back Pain / rehabilitation*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care
  • Patient-Centered Care / economics
  • Recovery of Function
  • Rehabilitation, Vocational