Investigation of self-reported of low back pain (LBP) over the last month and associated health-related quality of life (HRQoL) in a sample of a community-dwelling population aged ≥65.
Cross-sectional study including older adults selected randomly from population records. Data were collected within a sample stratified by age and sex. Physical and psychological healths were investigated using a standardized definition of LBP and the EuroQoL-5D for HRQoL. Analyses were first conducted on the entire sample (N = 3042) and subsequently considering the subsample who reported LBP and a paired sample drawn from the pool of LBP-free respondents.
889 (29 %) respondents reported LBP within the past month, present ‘most days’ or ‘every day’ in 52 % and limiting activities in the same proportion. Average pain score was 4.6 (SD 2.2; 0–10 scale). Age was associated with pain frequency and duration, with younger groups more often reporting pain ‘some days’ and ‘dating back <3 months’. Results of regression analyses showed that individuals suffering from LBP had significantly more problems than LBP non-sufferers on all EQ-5D subscales, except self-care: pain/discomfort (OR 5.33; 95 % CI [4.19–6.79]), mobility (OR 2.66; 95 % CI [2.04–3.46]), usual activities (OR 1.92; 95 % CI [1.42–2.60]), anxiety/depression (OR 1.59; 95 % CI [1.23–2.04]) and self-care (OR 1.29; 95 % CI [0.84–1.98]).
LBP appears to be a more permanent condition in the older groups. LBP may be a part of the definition of a subgroup of elderly at risk of becoming frail in relation with higher levels of functional limitations, psychological difficulties and social restrictions, hence globally impaired HRQoL.