Objective: To determine the prevalence and sites of musculoskeletal complaints and some associated health consequences among elderly Chinese.
Methods: A random sample of all subjects aged 70 years and over stratified by age and sex. Information collected by questionnaire at an interview.
Results: Nineteen to 41% of subjects complained of pain at various sites restricting activities, with a higher prevalence for women. The most common 4 sites involved in order of frequency were knee, upper back, ankle/foot, and shoulder. Back pain increased with age in men to reach the same frequency as women in the 90+ age group. Between 6 to 10% of men and 9 to 14% of women used nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs. Pain limiting activities were associated with a lower Barthel index, use of walking aids, increased frequency of doctor consultations, sleep disturbance, and higher depressive symptom scores.
Conclusion: Prevention of conditions resulting in musculoskeletal complaints would be important in the promotion of healthy active life expectancy in the elderly.