Increased Number of Chronic Musculoskeletal Pain Sites Associated With Low Physical Activity in Older Adults

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An accelerometer was used to evaluate number of steps as well as intensity of physical activity.
An accelerometer was used to evaluate number of steps as well as intensity of physical activity.

The number of chronic musculoskeletal pain sites may be associated with the level of low and moderate to vigorous physical activity in older adults, according to a study recently published in Pain Medicine.

In this observational study, 267 community-dwelling adults (mean age, 75.3 years; 67% women) were included. A self-reported questionnaire was used to evaluate pain intensity and the number of chronic musculoskeletal pain sites in study participants. An accelerometer was used to evaluate the number of steps as well as the intensity of physical activity, yielding data on time spent engaging in low or moderate to vigorous physical activity, and mean number of daily steps (low physical activity).

After adjusting for gender, obesity, alcohol consumption, comorbidity count, symptoms of depression, age, years of education, smoking status, and recent surgery, the number of chronic musculoskeletal pain sites was found to be higher in individuals with lower moderate to vigorous physical activity (β, -2.5; 95% CI, -4.7 to -0.4; P <.05) and lower number of steps (low physical activity; β, -333.5; 95% CI, -655.9 to -11.0; P <.05). Chronic single-site pain was present in 77 participants (28.8%), and chronic multisite pain was present in 81 participants (30.3%). 

“Higher number of chronic musculoskeletal pain sites is associated with low step count and decreased [moderate to vigorous physical activity] in community-dwelling older adults. In treating older adults with chronic multisite musculoskeletal pain, clinicians should take physical inactivity into account as well as pain,” concluded the study authors.

The number of chronic musculoskeletal pain sites may be associated with the level of low and moderate to vigorous physical activity in older adults, according to a study recently published in Pain Medicine. In this observational study, 267 community-dwelling adults (mean age, 75.3 years; 67% women) were included. A self-reported questionnaire was used to evaluate pain intensity and the number of chronic musculoskeletal pain sites in study participants. An accelerometer was used to evaluate the number of steps as well as the intensity of physical activity, yielding data on time spent engaging in low or moderate to vigorous physical activity, and mean number of daily steps (low physical activity). After adjusting for gender, obesity, alcohol consumption, comorbidity count, symptoms of depression, age, years of education, smoking status, and recent surgery, the number of chronic musculoskeletal pain sites was found to be higher in individuals with lower moderate to vigorous physical activity (β, -2.5; 95% CI, -4.7 to -0.4; P <.05) and lower number of steps (low physical activity; β, -333.5; 95% CI, -655.9 to -11.0; P <.05).

Chronic single-site pain was present in 77 participants (28.8%), and chronic multisite pain was present in 81 participants (30.3%). “Higher number of chronic musculoskeletal pain sites is associated with low step count and decreased [moderate to vigorous physical activity] in community-dwelling older adults. In treating older adults with chronic multisite musculoskeletal pain, clinicians should take physical inactivity into account as well as pain,” concluded the study authors. 

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