Perceived disadvantages caused by low back pain
Kalle Mattila, Mauri Leino, Carita Kemppi, Risto Tuominen
Objective: To evaluate the perceived disadvantages caused by low back pain in work, household chores and leisure-time activities, as expressed by patients themselves.
Design and subjects: Structured telephone interviews, carried out among a sample of 39 physician referrals (29 women and 10 men) for non-specific chronic low back pain to University Hospital, Turku, covered how low back pain affected their daily living, with separate sections for work, household chores and leisure time. Disadvantages in daily activities were measured using numeric rating scales (0–100). The differences between scores for ability to perform with low back pain and for expected performance if the subject did not have low back pain were used to depict the disadvantage in each activity.
Results: Men reported a greater disadvantage than women in work, household chores and leisure-time activities. The ability to perform in any of the 3 daily activities was associated with an ability to perform in the others. Good performance at work was reported by 81.0% of the women and 42.9% of the men. Because of low back pain, leisure-time activities had been reduced by 82.1% of the patients and, out of them, 64.1% had completely given up at least one leisure-time activity.
Conclusion: When estimating the overall burden of low back pain, the measure of work-related loss of productivity should be complemented by measures of performance in household chores and limitations to leisure-time activities. To depict extensively the burden to the patients, such measures should be based on the activities the patients consider important. These are best determined by using the phrasings and expressions the patients themselves use.
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