Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science


Epidemiology and Biostatistics


A large majority of the Canadian population will suffer from back pain in their lifetime. Back pain is one of the most common reasons patients visit their family physician.

The objective of this research is to characterize an episode of back pain care in the context of Canadian family practice and to explore the determinants of episode of care characteristics. Back pain episodes of care and patient-level and episode-level variables were extracted from a database of electronic medical records.

The majority of back pain episodes of care in family practice were found to encompass a single physician visit. Individuals seeking care for other musculoskeletal and/or psychosocial conditions during the episode of back pain care had greater health care utilization during the episode.

These findings have family physician workload implications and will aid policy­ makers in the distribution of resources for this prominent health condition in primary care.



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