How does pain localization affect physical functioning, emotional status and independency in older adults with chronic musculoskeletal pain?

This study’s goal was to show the effect of chronic musculoskeletal pain of the spinal column and lower extremities on physical functioning, emotional status, and independency in older adults. In this cross-sectional study, 258 older adults (mean age, 71.98±5.86 years, 50.8% males, 49.2% females) living in their own residences were evaluated. Severity of pain was analyzed using a visual analogue scale. Physical functioning was evaluated with the Timed Up and Go Test (TUG) and a Six-Minute Walk Test. The Geriatric Depression Scale was used to determine emotional status. The independence in daily living of the participants was evaluated using the Lawton Brody IADL Scale. All participants were separated into two groups in accordance with the pain localization: the (1) spinal pain and (2) lower extremity pain groups. When the pain scores were compared, there were not any significant differences between the two groups observed. The same results were found in terms of TUG scores. The spinal pain group had higher scores in terms of aerobic capacity than the lower extremity pain group.

The results suggest that chronic musculoskeletal pain in the lower extremities decreased aerobic capacity much more than spinal pain in older adults.