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Knauer, RS., Freburger, KJ., Carey, ST. (2010) 'Chronic low back pain among older adults: a population-based perspective', J Aging Health.2010 Dec;22(8):1213-34.

J Aging Health.2010 Dec;22(8):1213-34.

Chronic low back pain among older adults: a population-based perspective

S R Knauer, J K Freburger, T S Carey


Objectives: To determine the prevalence of chronic low back pain (LBP) in older North Carolinians, describe their health and health care utilization, and compare these findings with younger subgroups. Method: A cross-sectional, telephone survey of 5,357 households was conducted to identify 732 adults with chronic, impairing LBP. Results: Chronic LBP prevalence in older adults was significantly higher than the 21-to-44-year age group (12.3% vs. 6.5%, p < .001). Older adults were more disabled, had longer symptom duration, and were less depressed. Chronic LBP care seeking in older adults was significantly lower than the 45-to-64-year age group (80.6% vs. 88.6%, p = .02). Older adults were less likely to receive bed rest, spinal manipulation, heat/cold treatments, electrical stimulation, and massage therapy. Use of nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), muscle relaxants, strong narcotics, and antidepressants was significantly lower in the older age group. Discussion: There are age-related differences in health and health care use among individuals with chronic LBP.

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