Author(s): Woo J, Leung J, Lau E
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Abstract OBJECTIVE: To examine the prevalence, correlates and prospective impact of musculoskeletal pain on physical and psychological function in a population health survey of elderly Chinese men and women. STUDY DESIGN: Cohort study. METHODS: Four thousand men and women, aged 65 years and over, living in the community in Hong Kong took part in this study. A questionnaire to determine demographics, socio-economic status, medical history, smoking, alcohol intake and level of physical activity was administered by an interviewer. Participants were asked about the presence of pain in the back, neck, hip and knee in the past 12 months. They were re-interviewed after 4 years of follow-up to document physical performance measures, psychological function and occurrence of falls, fractures and mortality. RESULTS: Overall, back pain was most prevalent (48\%), followed by knee (31\%), neck (22.5\%) and hip (8.9\%) pain; the values was nearly twice as high in women compared with men for all sites. The presence of pain was not correlated with age, but was associated with various measures of socio-economic status as well as comorbidities. Baseline prevalence of pain was related to physical performance and quality-of-life measures, and fracture incidence after 4 years of follow-up. CONCLUSION: Musculoskeletal pain is prevalent among elderly men and women, being much higher in the latter, giving rise to considerable functional and psychological impairments. Osteoporosis and osteoarthritis are likely to be the main underlying causes. The condition may be considered part of the frailty syndrome, and in this context, prevention and management represent major public health challenges.
This article was published in Public Health
and referenced in Journal of Gerontology & Geriatric Research