Falls in Community-Dwelling Older Adults with Lower Back or Knee Pain Are Associated with Cognitive and Emotional Factors

Int J Environ Res Public Health. 2020 Jul 9;17(14):4960. doi: 10.3390/ijerph17144960.


(1) Background: The present study aimed to examine physical, cognitive and emotional factors affecting falls in community-dwelling older adults with and without pain; (2) Methods: Data from 789 older adults who participated in a community-based health survey were analyzed. Participants completed questionnaires on the presence of pain and previous falls. Muscle weakness (handgrip strength < 26.0 kg for men and < 18.0 kg for women) and low skeletal muscle mass (appendicular skeletal muscle mass index < 7.0 kg/m2 for men and < 5.7 kg/m2 for women) were determined. Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and depressive symptoms were assessed using the National Center for Geriatrics and Gerontology-Functional Assessment Tool and 15-item geriatric depression scale (GDS-15), respectively; (3) Results: In participants with pain, MCI and GDS-15 were associated with previous falls after adjusting for age, sex, education and medication use. In participants without pain, muscle weakness and low skeletal muscle mass were associated with previous falls when adjusting for the above covariates; (4) Conclusions: Falls in participants with pain were associated with cognitive and emotional factors, whereas falls in those without pain were associated with physical factors. Fall prevention interventions for older adults with pain may require tailored strategies to address cognitive and emotional factors.

Keywords: accidental falls; aged; depressive symptoms; mild cognitive impairment; pain.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accidental Falls*
  • Aged
  • Cognition*
  • Female
  • Geriatric Assessment
  • Hand Strength
  • Humans
  • Independent Living*
  • Knee
  • Low Back Pain
  • Male
  • Pain* / complications
  • Risk Factors