Economic evaluation of the costs of low back pain (LBP) in Spain from a societal perspective, including direct and indirect costs, based on a national representative sample of the general population, the National Health Survey of 2017 (NHS 2017).
To estimate the costs attributable to LBP in Spain.
Summary of Background Data.
LBP has a high prevalence and is associated with lower quality of life, functional status, and increased use of health services. Studies that assess the socio-economic burden of LBP from a general population perspective have not been published yet in Spain.
Data from NHS 2017 were used. Direct costs (consultations—general practitioner, specialist and emergency departments-, diagnostic tests, hospitalizations, physiotherapy, psychologist, and medication consumption) and indirect costs (absenteeism and presenteeism) were assessed. Multivariate models were obtained to determine the independent attributable effect of LBP in each variable. Costs were determined through existing regional healthcare services public data.
Prevalence of LBP was 17.1% for men and 24.5% for women, and increased with age, low educational status, higher body mass index, and was associated with less physical activity, and lower self-perceived health. Multivariate analysis demonstrated that LBP was independently associated with a significant increase both in the utilization of all health services and on work day losses. Attributable costs of LBP were 8945.6 million euros, of which 74.5% implied indirect costs, representing overall 0.68% of Spanish Gross Domestic Product.
Spain is paying a heavy price for LBP, mostly associated with its significant impact on absenteeism and presenteeism, as well as a noteworthy effect on excess health services utilization. These findings underscore the need to address this considerable public health and social problem through interventions that address widely LBP and that have demonstrated to be cost-effective.
Level of Evidence: 3