Moderate or severe low back pain is associated with body mass index amongst community-dwelling older Australians

Julia Gilmartin-Thomas, Flavia Cicuttini, Alice Owen, Rory Wolfe, Michael E Ernst, Mark R. Nelson, Jessica E. Lockery, Robyn Woods, Carlene Britt, Danny Liew, Anne M Murray, Barbara Workman, Stephanie A Ward, John McNeil, the ASPREE Investigator Group

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

5 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: Low back pain is prevalent in older populations and modifiable risk factors may include being overweight or obese. This study aimed to describe the prevalence and impact of moderate or severe low back pain in community-dwelling older adults and its association with body mass index (BMI). Methods: Cross-sectional study involving 16,439 Australians aged ≥70 years. Logistic regression was used to describe associations between the presence or absence of moderate or severe low back pain experienced on most days with BMI. Analyses were conducted separately for males and females, and controlled for age and depression at baseline. Results: Of 14,155 pain question respondents, 11 % of males (n = 710/6475) and 18 % of females (n = 1391/7680) reported moderate or severe low back pain (total 15 %, n = 2101/14,155). Of those reporting moderate or severe low back pain (n = 2101), 55 % reported taking pain-relieving medication regularly, and 29 % reported that the pain regularly interfered with sleep, 37 % with walking, and 47 % with day to day activities. When age and depression were controlled for, there was a statistically significant (p < 0.001) association between moderate or severe low back pain and being overweight (females: odds ratio OR = 1.50, 95 % confidence interval CI = 1.27−1.76) or obese (males: OR = 2.23, 95 %CI = 1.77−2.80 and females: OR = 2.91, 95 %CI = 2.48−3.42). Conclusion: Moderate or severe low back pain is common, has a significant impact, and is associated with either an overweight or obese BMI among community-dwelling Australians aged ≥70 years.

Original languageEnglish
Article number104231
Number of pages7
JournalArchives of Gerontology and Geriatrics
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2020


  • Analgesia
  • Back
  • Body mass index
  • Geriatric
  • Pain
  • Weight

Cite this