Cost-effectiveness of naturopathic care for chronic low back pain. | CCNM

Cost-effectiveness of naturopathic care for chronic low back pain.

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OBJECTIVE: To determine the cost-effectiveness of naturopathic care (acupuncture, relaxation exercises, exercise and dietary advice, and a back care booklet) compared to standardized physiotherapy education and a back care booklet (control treatment) for low back pain in a sample (N = 70) of warehouse workers.DESIGN: Economic evaluation based upon the results of a pragmatic randomized controlled trial to determine the cost-effectiveness of naturopathic care to society as a whole, to the employer, and to participants.RESULTS: Naturopathic care (as compared to the control treatment) significantly improved quality-adjusted life-years over the 6-month study period (3-month intervention period and 3-month follow-up period) by 0.0256 95% CI: 0.0075, 0.0437)--roughly equivalent to 9.4 "perfect health" days. Naturopathic care also significantly reduced societal costs by $1212 per participant. From the perspective of the employer, the intervention cost $154 per absentee day avoided (compared to employer costs of lost productivity of $172 per day) and had a return on investment of 7.9% under the healthcare coverage limits set by this employer and assuming the employer paid the full cost of naturopathic care. Participants experienced savings in adjunctive care of $1096 per participant.CONCLUSIONS: This economic evaluation alongside a pragmatic randomized control trial shows naturopathic care to be more cost-effective than a standardized physiotherapy education regimen in the treatment of chronic low back pain. Further studies of the economic impact of naturopathic medicine are warranted.PMID: 18383988
Title of abstract: 
Cost-effectiveness of naturopathic care for chronic low back pain.
Herman PM, Szczurko O, Cooley K, Mills EJ.
University of Arizona
Monday, December 31, 2007
Alt Ther in Health and Med, 2008;14(2):32-9.

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