Pain is a frequent and debilitating problem among older adults, decreasing quality of life (QOL) both physically and mentally. The burden of arthritis, sciatica, and back pain on QOL was estimated using ordinary least squares regression techniques to estimate the impact of each of these types of pain on QOL, controlling for patient demographic, socioeconomic, and health status characteristics. For individuals with arthritis, sciatica, and back pain, the adjusted average physical component scores were 4.19, 1.39, and 6.75 points lower, respectively (all p < 0.0001), than those without pain. Adjusted average mental component scores were 1.33, 0.47, and 2.93 points lower (all p < 0.01) for individuals with arthritis, sciatica, and back pain, respectively. The impact of pain on QOL was greater than that for many other commonly treated medical conditions. Clinicians should discuss pain with their patients to maximize their QOL.
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