A Standardized Assessment of Movement-evoked Pain Ratings Is Associated With Functional Outcomes in Older Adults With Chronic Low Back Pain

Clin J Pain. 2021 Dec 24;38(4):241-249. doi: 10.1097/AJP.0000000000001016.


Objective: Despite high prevalence estimates, chronic low back pain (CLBP) remains poorly understood among older adults. Movement-evoked pain (MeP) is an understudied factor in this population that may importantly contribute to disability. This study investigated whether a novel MeP paradigm contributed to self-reported and performance-based function in older adults with CLBP.

Materials and methods: This secondary analysis includes baseline data from 230 older adults with CLBP in the context of a prospective cohort study. The Repeated Chair Rise Test, Six Minute Walk Test, and Stair Climbing Test were used to elicit pain posttest LBP ratings were aggregated to yield the MeP variable. Self-reported and performance-based function were measured by the Late Life Function and Disability Index (LLFDI) scaled function score and Timed Up-and-Go Test (TUG), respectively. Robust regression with HC3 standard errors was used to model adjusted associations between MeP and both functional outcomes; age, sex, body mass index, and pain characteristics (ie, intensity, quality, and duration) were utilized as covariates.

Results: MeP was present in 81.3% of participants, with an average rating of 5.09 (SD=5.4). Greater aggregated posttest MeP was associated with decreased LLFDI scores (b=-0.30, t=-2.81, P=0.005) and poorer TUG performance (b=0.081, t=2.35, P=0.020), independent of covariates. LBP intensity, quality and duration were not associated with the LLFDI or TUG, (all P>0.05).

Discussion: Aggregated posttest MeP independently contributed to worse self-reported and performance-based function among older adults with CLBP. To understand long-term consequences of MeP, future studies should examine longitudinal associations between MeP and function in this population.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Chronic Pain* / diagnosis
  • Humans
  • Low Back Pain*
  • Prospective Studies