METHODS: This paper describes the design of two multi-methods clinical studies focusing on elderly patients with non-acute LBP and NP. Each study includes a randomized clinical trial (RCT), a cost-effectiveness study alongside the RCT, and a qualitative study. Four hundred and eighty participants (240 per study), ages 65 and older, will be recruited and randomized to one of three, 12-week treatment programs. Patient-rated outcome measures are collected via self-report questionnaires at baseline and at 4, 12, 26, and 52 weeks post-randomization. Objective outcomes are assessed by examiners masked to treatment assignment at baseline and 12 weeks. Health care cost data is collected through standardized clinician forms, monthly phone interviews, and self-report questionnaires throughout the study. Qualitative interviews using a semi-structured format are conducted at the end of the 12 week treatment period.
DISCUSSION: To our knowledge, these are the first randomized clinical trials to comprehensively address clinical effectiveness, cost-effectiveness, and patients' perceptions of commonly used treatments for elderly LBP and NP sufferers. Trial Registration: NCT00269321 and NCT00269308.
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