A Health Production Function for Persons With Back Problems: Results From the Canadian Community Health Survey of 2000

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Study Design.

A retrospective, population-based analysis.


To analyze the relation between health outcomes and resources used by persons with back problems in an everyday setting.

Summary of Background Data.

The Canadian Community Health Survey (2000) contains self-reported variables on change in health status, use of health resources, and socioeconomic characteristics of a population sample.


We use a health production function approach, in which we explore the association between change in health status and a series of utilization variables for persons with a single diagnosis of back pain using a regression equation. The independent variables include use of family physicians, chiropractors, physiotherapists, and exercise.


Change in health status was negatively and significantly associated with family practice, chiropractic, and physiotherapy visits and positively associated with physical activity. The magnitudes of the results were small.


Our results indicate that exercise is an important factor in back problems, while persons who seek formal care do not improve.

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