Association between back pain and subjective health, wellbeing and sleep problems among older adults in six middle-income countries: a cross-sectional study

Abstract

Background

Very little is known about the association of back pain with subjective health and well-being and sleep problems among the older population in middle-income countries. In this study, we examine the association of back pain with four health outcomes — poor self-rated health, impairments in activities of daily living (1+ADL), sleep problems and World Health Organization Quality of Life score (WHOQOL) — and to study what extent the association differs by age group.

Methods

Nationally representative data from World Health Organization’s Study on global AGEing and adult health (WHO-SAGE) consisting of 33,878 older adults aged 50 or above were analyzed. The linkages of back pain with poor self-rated health, impairments in activities of daily living (1+ADL), and sleep problems were examined using multivariate logistic regression analysis. Multivariate linear regression was used to assess the association between back pain and quality of life.

Results

In the pooled analysis, the association of back pain with four health outcomes were significant. Older adults who reported low back pain were more likely to report poor self-rated health (OR=1.91; p < .001), impairments in activities of dailiy living (ADL) (OR=2.06; p < .001), and sleep problems (OR=2.04; p < .001), and had lower quality of life score (β = −3.23, p < .001). Furthermore, the association of back pain and poor self-rated health, impairments in ADL, and sleep problems was stronger for the 50–59 age group than the 80 or above age group, suggesting significant age interaction in the association.

Conclusion

This study suggested the significant role of back pain in determining subjective health, wellbeing, and sleep problems. Measures to prevent back pain, particularly among those in the 50–59 age group, are important to enhance overall wellbeing of the growing older population in low- and middle-income countries.

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Fig. 1

Data availability

The data can be freely downloaded from the WHO’s website through the following link: http://apps.who.int/healthinfo/systems/surveydata/index.php/catalog/sage

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Funding

No funding was received to support the writing of this paper.

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Conceptualization: MC, YS; formal analysis and investigation: MC, YS; writing — original draft preparation: MC, YS; writing — review and editing: MC, YS; supervision: None.

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Correspondence to Y. Selvamani.

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The SAGE study was approved by the Ethics Review Committee (RPC146), World Health Organization, Geneva, Switzerland.

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Informed written consent was obtained from each participant, who were assured that data would remain confidential and used for research purposes only

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Chaudhary, M., Selvamani, Y. Association between back pain and subjective health, wellbeing and sleep problems among older adults in six middle-income countries: a cross-sectional study. J Public Health (Berl.) (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10389-020-01474-x

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Keywords

  • Back pain
  • Self-rated health
  • Sleep problems
  • Older adults
  • SAGE countries