STarT Back

Chief Investigator:

Professor Elaine Hay

Principal Investigator:

Dr Jonathan Hill

Study Co-ordinator:

Elizabeth Mason

Funder name / reference number: ARUK (Arthritis Research UK)
Year Over 3 years

Study design

2 arm individualised randomised controlled trial. Sequential comparison study, involving 64 family physicians and linked physical therapy services.

Primary objective

We aimed to determine the effects of implementing risk-stratified care for low back pain in family practice on physician’s clinical behaviour, patient outcomes, and costs.


The active intervention was stratified care involving the STarT Back Tool and matched treatment options.

Stratified care entailed use of a risk stratification tool to classify patients into groups at low, medium, or high risk for persistent disability and provision of risk-matched treatments. The control intervention involved usual GP and physio care at the same practices/services during a pre-implementation phase.


For more information on how this project has progressed and the Impact it has made, please follow this link to the STarT Back website.