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Back pain – causes, diagnosis, treatment

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SBU Assessment

Presents a comprehensive, systematic assessment of available scientific evidence for effects on health, social welfare or disability. Full assessments include economic, social and ethical impact analyses. Assessment teams include professional practitioners and academics. Before publication the report is reviewed by external experts, and scientific conclusions approved by the SBU Board of Directors.

Purpose of Assessment

To summarize the current scientific knowledge on the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of back pain.


Systematic Review.

Review process for the publication

Internal review by project group, SBU Board and SBU Expert Group. Additional external review by experts in the field.

Content of Report

80% of Swedes experience back pain at some time in their lives, and each year 1/3 of all adults in Sweden are affected by this problem. Back pain is the most common reason for sick leave (30% of all sick leave) and early retirement in Sweden. The total cost of back pain is estimated at more than 20 billion SEK per year.

Impact of Assessment

An update report is currently under way.

How to cite this report: SBU. Back pain – causes, diagnosis, treatment. Stockholm: Swedish Council on Health Technology Assessment in Health Care (SBU); 1991. SBU report no 108 (in Swedish).

Published: Report no: 108
Page published