Simon Wieser , 1 , Bruno Horisberger 1 , Sara Schmidhauser 1 , Claudia Eisenring 1 , Urs Brügger 1 , Andreas Ruckstuhl 2 , Jürg Dietrich 2 , Anne F. Mannion 3 , Achim Elfering 4 , Özgür Tamcan 5 , Urs Müller 5
5 June 2010
Low back pain (LBP) is the most prevalent health problem in Switzerland and a leading cause of reduced work performance and disability. This study estimated the total cost of LBP in Switzerland in 2005 from a societal perspective using a bottom-up prevalence-based cost-of-illness approach. The study considers more cost categories than are typically investigated and includes the costs associated with a multitude of LBP sufferers who are not under medical care. The findings are based on a questionnaire completed by a sample of 2,507 German-speaking respondents, of whom 1,253 suffered from LBP in the last 4 weeks; 346 of them were receiving medical treatment for their LBP. Direct costs of LBP were estimated at €2.6 billion and direct medical costs at 6.1% of the total healthcare expenditure in Switzerland. Productivity losses were estimated at €4.1 billion with the human capital approach and €2.2 billion with the friction cost approach. Presenteeism was the single most prominent cost category. The total economic burden of LBP to Swiss society was between 1.6 and 2.3% of GDP.