Objectives: The aims of this study were to (1) report the prevalence and explore the influence of spinal pain on quality of life and (2) assess the relationship between spinal pain and the type and number of comorbidities.
Methods: This cross-sectional study comprised 579 community-dwelling, older Australian women. Women had “spinal pain” if they marked “yes” to neck pain, upper back pain, mid-back pain, and/or lower back pain. Descriptive statistics and binary logistic regression were performed to report the prevalence and explore the relationship between spinal pain and the type and number of comorbidities.
Results: A majority of women (55.8%) who returned surveys had spinal pain. Women with spinal pain had significantly lower physical and mental quality of life scores than women without spinal pain (Medical Outcomes Study: 36 Item Short Form Survey [SF-36] physical component summary: 40.1 ± 11.1 vs 49.0 ± 9.0, and SF-36 mental component summary: 50.0 ± 10.5 vs 53.9 ± 8.2, respectively). Having spinal pain was significantly associated with overweight and obesity (odds ratio 1.98 [95% confidence interval 1.3-2.96] and 2.12 [1.37-3.28]), diabetes (1.93 [1.01-3.67]), pulmonary comorbidity (1.66 [1.04-2.65]), and cardiovascular comorbidity (1.57 [1.07-2.28]). More than half of the women with spinal pain reported 2 or more comorbidities, with comorbidities significantly more common among women with spinal pain than among women without spinal pain. The odds of having spinal pain increased with an increasing number of comorbidities (2 comorbidities: 2.44 [1.47-4.04], 3 comorbidities: 3.07 [1.66-5.67], 4 comorbidities: 5.05 [1.64-15.54]).
Conclusions: Spinal pain is common in community-dwelling, older Australian women and is associated with greater disability and poorer quality of life. Diabetes, cardiovascular disease, pulmonary disease, and obesity appear to have a relationship with spinal pain. There was an incremental increase in the risk of spinal pain associated with increasing comorbidity count.
Author keywords: Pain; Comorbidity; Women's Heath; Epidemiology
Author affiliations: University of Newcastle. Research Centre for Generational Health and Ageing (Australia / New South Wales / Callaghan);
Central Queensland University. School of Human Health and Social Sciences (Australia / Queensland / Rockhampton);
University of California at Irvine. Department of Neurology (United States / California / Irvine); University of California at Los Angeles. School of Public Health. Department of Epidemiology (United States / California / Los Angeles); University of Sydney. Concord Clinical School (Australia / New South Wales / Sydney)
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