Hip Symptoms, Physical Performance, and Health Status in Older Adults With Chronic Low Back Pain: A Preliminary Investigation

Published:October 27, 2017DOI:



      To determine (1) whether there are differences in the prevalence of clinical hip symptoms between older adults with and without chronic low back pain (CLBP); and (2) whether coexisting hip symptoms are associated with worse physical performance and poorer health-related quality of life (HRQOL).


      Case-control study.


      Individuals participated in a standardized evaluation in a clinical laboratory.


      Clinical hip symptoms, which are proposed predictors of radiographic hip osteoarthritis according to American College of Rheumatology guidelines, were evaluated in a volunteer sample of community-dwelling older adults with CLBP (n=54; aged 60–85y) and in age- and sex-matched healthy controls (n=54).


      Not applicable.

      Main Outcome Measures

      Physical performance was measured by the repeated chair rise test and stair-climbing test. HRQOL was measured by the Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey (SF-36).


      Hip joint pain, morning stiffness, and pain with hip internal rotation were more common among older adults with CLBP (P<.05). Participants with CLBP and coexisting hip symptoms had worse physical performance than individuals without CLBP or hip symptoms (P<.0001). Additionally, the presence of coexisting hip symptoms was associated with worse HRQOL, particularly in the domains of social functioning, mental health, and role limitations attributable to emotional problems as measured by the SF-36 (P<.01).


      Given our limited understanding of CLBP among older adults, there is a definitive need to systematically explore coexisting pain conditions that may contribute to worse outcomes. Based on these data, future longitudinal studies should explore whether coexisting hip symptoms are associated with a worse prognosis in older adults with CLBP.


      List of abbreviations:

      BMI (body mass index), CLBP (chronic low back pain), HRQOL (health-related quality of life), IR (internal rotation), LBP (low back pain), MANOVA (multivariate analysis of variance), OA (osteoarthritis), SF-36 (Medical Outcomes Study 36-Item Short-Form Health Survey)
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