Sex differences in the change in health-related quality of life associated with low back pain

Qual Life Res. 2012 Dec;21(10):1705-11. doi: 10.1007/s11136-011-0087-1. Epub 2011 Dec 20.


Purpose: To examine the sex differences in the impact of low back pain (LBP) on health-related quality of life among community-dwelling persons from a nationwide sample.

Methods: Our analysis enrolled 2,358 participants from among 3,477 randomly selected subjects in Japan. The cumulative days each individual experienced LBP were prospectively measured over 1 month. The Physical Component Summary (PCS) and Mental Component Summary (MCS) in the Short Form 8-item Health Survey were evaluated before and after the study period. Sex differences in the impact of the cumulative number of LBP days on PCS and MCS scores were evaluated using linear regression analysis.

Results: Among the 2,170 participants with complete data, the prevalence of LBP in women (32%) was higher than that in men (25%) during the study period. One-day increases in LBP days were associated with greater decreases in PCS scores among men than among women (-0.72 vs. -0.29, sex difference P < 0.001). In contrast, no relationship was noted between the number of LBP days and the change in MCS score for either sex after adjustment.

Conclusions: Although a greater incidence of LBP was noted in women, health-related quality of life was more seriously affected in men with the same number of days with LBP in the month.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Female
  • Health Status*
  • Health Surveys
  • Humans
  • Japan
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Low Back Pain / epidemiology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Prospective Studies
  • Quality of Life*
  • Regression Analysis
  • Sex Characteristics*
  • Surveys and Questionnaires