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Table 1

Study characteristics

Study ID, type and perspectiveStudy detailsGroups
Hollinghurst et al. [24]
 Type: CEA/CUAParticipants randomised (n): 435aUsual GP care + or - exercise and behavioural counselling
 Perspective: healthcare sector, patients, societalDuration of LBP: chronic or recurrentMassage + or - exercise and behavioural counselling
Length of follow-up: 12 monthsAlexander technique (6 lessons) + or - exercise and behavioural counselling
Setting: United Kingdom 2002-2004
Jellema et al. [25]
 Type: CEA/CUAParticipants randomised (n): 314Usual GP care
 Perspective: societalDuration of LBP: <12 weeksMinimal psychosocial intervention (delivered by GP)
Length of follow-up: 12 months
Setting: The Netherlands 2001-2003
Johnson et al. [26]
 Type: CEA/CUAParticipants randomised (n): 234Usual GP care
 Perspective: not statedDuration of LBP: >3 monthsExercise and education using a cognitive-behavioural approach
Length of follow-up: 15 months
Setting: United Kingdom 2002-2003
Karjalainen et al. [22, 23]
 Type and perspective: not statedParticipants randomised (n): 164Usual GP care
Duration of LBP: >4 weeks but <3 monthsUsual GP care plus advice, education and exercise
Length of follow-up: 24 monthsUsual GP care plus advice, education and exercise, plus worksite visit
Setting: Finland 1998-2000
Kominski et al. [18]
 Type: CMAParticipants randomised (n): 681Usual GP care
 Perspective: not statedDuration of LBP: mixedUsual GP care plus physiotherapy
Length of follow-up: 18 monthsChiropractic care
Setting: United States 1995-1998Chiropractic care with physical modalities
Kovacs et al. [16]
 Type: CEA/CUAParticipants randomised (n): 104Usual GP care
 Perspective: not statedDuration of LBP: ?14 daysUsual GP care plus neuroreflexotherapy
Length of follow-up: 12 months
Setting: Spain, years not specified
Loisel et al. [20]
 Type: CEA/CUA and CBAParticipants randomised (n): 130Usual GP care
 Perspective: insurance providerDuration of LBP: >4 weeks absent from work due to LBPClinical rehabilitation (back pain specialist, back school + or - multidisciplinary rehabilitation)
Length of follow-up: mean 6.4 yearsOccupational intervention (occupation physician and ergonomics intervention)
Setting: Canada 1991-1993Clinical rehabilitation plus occupational intervention
Ratcliffe et al. [27]
 Type: CEA/CUAParticipants randomised (n): 241Usual GP care
 Perspective: healthcare sector and societalDuration of LBP: 4-52 weeksAcupuncture
Length of follow-up: 24 months
Setting: United Kingdom 1999-2001
Seferlis et al. [19]
 Type: CMAParticipants randomised (n): 180Usual GP care
 Perspective: not statedDuration of LBP: <2 weeks on sick leave due to LBPManual therapy
Length of follow-up: 12 monthsExercise training
Setting: Sweden, years not specified
Skouen et al. [21]
 Type: CBAParticipants randomised (n): 211 (195 completed follow up)Usual GP care
 Perspective: societalDuration of LBP: sick leave for at least 8 weeks, or sick-listed for at least 2 months a year for the last 2 yearsLight multidisciplinary treatment
Length of follow-up: 24 months after the end of treatmentExtensive multidisciplinary treatment
Setting: Norway 1996-1997
UK BEAM Trial Team [17]
 Type: CEA/CUAParticipants randomised (n): 1,334 (1,287 included in analysis)Guideline-based GP care
 Perspective: healthcare sectorDuration of LBP: at least 4 weeksGuideline-based GP care plus exercise
Length of follow-up: 12 monthsGuideline-based GP care plus spinal manipulation
Setting: United Kingdom 1999-2002Guideline-based GP care plus combined treatment (spinal manipulation followed by exercise)
CBA cost-benefit analysis
CEA cost-effectiveness analysis
CMA cost-minimisation analysis
CUA cost-utility analysis
Data from a fourth group is not included in this review as no comparison was made between this group and GP care