Higher Percentage of Back Pain Linked to Adults Aged 65 Years or Older

August 5, 2021
Connor Iapoce

Connor Iapoce is an assistant editor for HCPLive and joined the MJH Life Sciences team in April 2021. He graduated from The College of New Jersey with a degree in Journalism and Professional Writing. He enjoys listening to records, going to concerts, and playing with his cat Squish. You can reach him at ciapoce@mjhlifesciences.com.

Data show prevalence of pain increased with age in all age groups, while it was lower among men and non-Hispanic Asian adults.

A new report from the National Center for Health Statistics provided national estimates of pain in the year 2019 to illustrate estimates of back, lower limb, and upper limb pain in the past 3 months among US adults aged ≥ 18 years old.

Investigators, led by Jacqueline W. Lucas, MPH, found 58.9% of adults experienced pain of any kind within the past 3 months, with back pain the most prevalent site (39.0%), followed by lower limb (36.5%), and upper limb (30.7%).

Back Pain

Data show the percentage of adults with back pain increased with age, ranging from 28.4% in 18 - 29 years, 35.2% in patients aged 30 - 44 years, 44.3% in patients aged 45 - 64 years, and 45.6 for patients aged ≥65 years.

It further showed women were more likely to experience back pain, compared to men at a rate of 40.6% to 37.2%, respectively.

In addition, the investigators found back pain differed among non-Hispanic white (42.7%), non-Hispanic black (35.8%), Hispanic (31.2%), and non-Hispanic Asian (24.5%) adults

Income also played a factor as the percentage of back pain decreased as family income increased.

Data show 44.8% of adults with income less than 100% of the federal poverty level (FPL) reported back pain, while 37.6% of adults reported back pain with income 200% or more of FPL.

Lower Limb Pain

Further, data on lower limb pain show the percentage also increased with age, with 21.0% in those aged 18 - 29 years, 28.8% in those aged 30 - 44 years, 43.4% in patients aged 45 - 64, and 50.3% in patients aged ≥65 years.

The team also noted lower limb pain estimated differences among non-Hispanic white (40.1%), non-Hispanic black (36.6%), Hispanic (27.4%), and non-Hispanic Asian (20.6%) adults.

Similar to the above data, the percentage of adults with lower limb pain decreased as family income increased, with 42.1% in adults with income less than 100% of FPL and 35.2% in adults with income 200% or more of FPL.

Upper Limb Pain

The data show upper limb pain followed a similar pattern in increasing with age, from 16.2% in patients aged 18 - 29, 24.1% in patients aged 30 - 44 years, to 37.9% in patients aged 45 - 64, to 42.0% in patients aged ≥65 years.

Once more, the estimate differed among non-Hispanic white (33.4%), non-Hispanic black (28.6%), Hispanic (24.4%), and non-Hispanic Asian (21.0%) adults.

As family income increased, the percentage of adults with upper limb pain decreased, with 37.1% in adults with income less than 100% of FPL to 29.1% in adults with income 200% or more of FPL.

Summary

The data show nearly 3 in 5 adults experienced pain of any kind in the past 3 months in 2019.

The team noted the prevalence of pain increased with age, with the highest among adults aged ≥65 years and lowest among men and non-Hispanic Asian adults.

“Finally, the percentage of adults who experienced back, lower limb, and upper limb pain decreased with increasing family income as a percentage of FPL,” investigators wrote.

The data brief, “Back, Lower Limb, and Upper Limb Pain Among U.S. Adults, 2019,” was published online by the National Center for Health Statistics.


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