The influence of back pain on balance and functional mobility in 65- to 75-year-old women with osteoporosis

Osteoporos Int. 2002 Nov;13(11):868-73. doi: 10.1007/s001980200119.


To determine whether the presence of back pain and its related disabilities are determinants of balance and functional mobility in a group of women with osteoporosis, we carried out a cross-sectional analysis of 93 community-dwelling women with osteoporosis between the ages of 65 and 75 years old. We assessed health history, anthropometrics, self-report of current physical activity level and self-report of back pain (intensity and pain-related disabilities). Balance was measured by computerized dynamic posturography and functional mobility was assessed by timed figure-of-eight test. The prevalence of back pain was high (75%) in this cohort of older women with osteoporosis. Age was the major determinant of both balance and functional mobility and accounted for 9% and 14% of the variance, respectively. After accounting for age, back pain explained an additional 9% of the variance in balance and 13% of the variance in functional mobility. The high prevalence of back pain demonstrates the importance of pain management in the treatment of osteoporosis. Furthermore, the finding of self-reported back pain as a determinant of both balance and functional mobility suggests that this measure may deserve attention when screening women with osteoporosis for fracture risk. Prospective studies are needed to determine whether pain management will improve balance and functional mobility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Back Pain / etiology
  • Back Pain / physiopathology*
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Movement*
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / complications
  • Osteoporosis, Postmenopausal / physiopathology*
  • Postural Balance*
  • Prospective Studies
  • Regression Analysis