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Medical Science Monitor Basic Research


eISSN: 1643-3750

Selected Aspects of Mental Health of Elderly Patients with Chronic Back Pain Treated in Primary Care Centers

Anna Cabak, Anna Dąbrowska-Zimakowska, Paweł Tomaszewski, Marek Łyp, Ryszard Kaczor, Wiesław Tomaszewski, Barbara Fijałkowska, Ireneusz Kotela

Department of Physiotherapy, Warsaw University of Physical Education, Warsaw, Poland

Med Sci Monit 2015; 21:3327-3333

DOI: 10.12659/MSM.894333

Available online: 2015-11-02

Published: 2015-11-02


BACKGROUND: Improvement of the effectiveness and efficiency of chronic back pain therapy is a continuing challenge on an international scale. The aim of the present study was to tentatively assess mental health of patients with chronic back pain treated in primary care centers.
MATERIAL AND METHODS: The study enrolled 100 persons over 50 years of age. The back pain group consisted of 53 patients with chronic back pain and the control group consisted of 47 pain-free persons. The assessment of mental health used a Polish version of the international Goldberger’s General Health Questionnaire (GHQ-28). ANOVA (1- and 2-factor) analysis of variance, Tukey’s test, and Pearson’s simple correlation were used to analyze the significance of differences, with the significance level set at α=0.05.
RESULTS: All patients with chronic back pain, regardless of their age and gender, displayed poorer mental well-being compared to the control group: their overall score was higher by over 7 points than in persons without back pain (F1.96=14.8; p<0.001). Men with back pain were significantly more susceptible to depression than women (F2.96=5.5; p<0.05), compared to the control group. The duration of back pain also showed a significant (p<0.05) direct correlation with the overall mental health score from the questionnaire. Mental health was considerably poorer among patients occasionally (p<0.001) and regularly (p<0.05) consuming analgesics than among persons who did not do so.
CONCLUSIONS: The study revealed that mental health was markedly poorer in patients with chronic back pain than in healthy controls. A preliminary assessment of aspects of mental health should be given more attention in the rehabilitation of patients with chronic back pain treated in primary care center outpatient clinics.

Keywords: Chronic Pain - therapy, Case-Control Studies, Depression - diagnosis, Low Back Pain - therapy, Mental Health, pain management, Poland, Primary Health Care - organization & administration, Severity of Illness Index, Sex Factors, Surveys and Questionnaires