A pragmatic multicentered randomized controlled trial of yoga for chronic low back pain: economic evaluation

Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2012 Aug 15;37(18):1593-601. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3182545937.


Study design: Multicentered randomized controlled trial with quality of life and resource use data collected.

Objective: The objective of this study was to evaluate the cost-effectiveness of yoga intervention plus usual care compared with usual care alone for chronic or recurrent low back pain.

Summary of background data: Yoga has been shown as an effective intervention for treating chronic or recurrent low back pain. However, there is little evidence on its cost-effectiveness. The data are extracted from a pragmatic, multicentered, randomized controlled trial that has been conducted to evaluate the effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of a 12-week progressive program of yoga plus usual care in patients with chronic or recurrent low back pain.

Methods: With this trial data, a cost-effectiveness analysis during the time period of 12 months from both perspectives of the UK National Health Service and the societal is presented. Main outcome measure is an incremental cost per quality-adjusted life-year (QALY).

Results: From the perspective of the U.K. National Health Service, yoga intervention yields an incremental cost-effectiveness ratio of £13,606 per QALY. Given a willingness to pay for an additional QALY of £20,000, the probability of yoga intervention being cost-effective is 72%. From the perspective of the society, yoga intervention is a dominant treatment compared with usual care alone. This result is surrounded by fewer uncertainties-the probability of yoga being cost-effective reaches 95% at a willingness to pay for an additional QALY of £20,000. Sensitive analyses suggest the same results that yoga intervention is likely to be cost-effective in both perspectives.

Conclusion: On the basis of this trial, 12 weekly group classes of specialized yoga are likely to be a cost-effective intervention for treating patients with chronic or recurrent low back pain.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Chronic Pain / therapy
  • Cost-Benefit Analysis
  • Follow-Up Studies
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain / therapy*
  • Middle Aged
  • Multicenter Studies as Topic / economics*
  • Outcome Assessment, Health Care / economics
  • Quality-Adjusted Life Years
  • Randomized Controlled Trials as Topic / economics*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • United Kingdom
  • Yoga*
  • Young Adult

Associated data

  • ISRCTN/ISRCTN81079604