Energy Impairments in Older Adults With Low Back Pain and Radiculopathy: A Matched Case-Control Study

Arch Phys Med Rehabil. 2018 Nov;99(11):2251-2256. doi: 10.1016/j.apmr.2018.03.016. Epub 2018 Apr 24.


Objectives: To investigate the impact that the presence of chronic low back pain with radiculopathy (CLBPR) may have on (1) energy efficiency and (2) energy capacity among community-dwelling older adults.

Design: Matched case-control study.

Setting: Clinical research laboratory.

Participants: Included in the analysis were community-dwelling older adults (N=38, 60-85 years) with and without CLBPR. Participants were matched between-groups on age (±5 years), sex, and diabetic status.

Interventions: Not applicable.

Main outcome measures: Energy cost of walking at self-selected speed (ie, energy efficiency) and peak volume of oxygen consumed (ie, energy capacity).

Results: Older adults with CLBPR had a higher energy cost of walking at self-selected speed (P=.009) and lower peak volume of oxygen consumed while walking (P=.050), compared to those without pain.

Conclusions: Older adults with CLBPR may benefit from specific rehabilitative interventions that target these potentially modifiable energetic outcomes, thereby reducing the risk of mobility decline. Future studies should identify which mechanisms specifically contribute to diminished energy efficiency and capacity among older adults with CLBPR.

Keywords: Metabolism; Mobility; Pain; Rehabilitation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Case-Control Studies
  • Chronic Pain / physiopathology*
  • Energy Metabolism / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Independent Living
  • Low Back Pain / physiopathology*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Oxygen Consumption / physiology*
  • Radiculopathy / physiopathology*
  • Walking / physiology