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Prospective associations between pain at multiple sites and falls among community dwelling older Australians

Balogun, SA ORCID: 0000-0001-6415-5536, Srikanth, V, van der Leeuw, G and Callisaya, ML ORCID: 0000-0003-2122-1622 2021 , 'Prospective associations between pain at multiple sites and falls among community dwelling older Australians' , Internal Medicine Journal , pp. 1-22 , doi: 10.1111/imj.15659.

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Aim Pain at multiple sites is prevalent among older people. Yet, studies investigating the relationship between pain and falls focus largely on single-site pain. This study aims to examine the association between pain at multiple sites and falls among community-dwelling older Australians. Method Participants aged >60 years were randomly selected from the electoral roll. Falls were recorded prospectively over 12 months. Pain at multiple sites was assessed using a questionnaire. The total number of painful sites was calculated. Widespread pain was defined as pain in the upper-limb, lower-limb and in the axial skeletal region, with moderate to severe pain in at least one region. Log multinomial regression, with adjustment for confounders, was used to estimate whether widespread pain or number of painful sites increased the risk of a single (1 fall) and multiple falls (≥2 falls). Results There were 299 participants (43% women; mean age 72±7.0 years). The mean (SD) of falls was 0.8±1.5. The frequencies of single and multiple falls were 23% (n=68) and 16% (n=49) respectively. A higher number of painful sites was associated with an elevated risk of a single fall (RR=1.08, 95% CI: 0.96, 1.27) and multiple falls (RR=1.20, 95% CI: 1.02, 1.41). However, the risk of multiple, but not single fall was substantial and statistically significant. Furthermore, compared to those without pain, individuals with widespread pain had an elevated risk of single (RR=1.87, 95% CI: 0.80, 5.09) and multiple falls (RR=3.94, 95% CI: 1.15, 13.51). However, the magnitude of effects of single fall was smaller and not statistically significant. Conclusions Falls risk should be ascertained for older people with pain, irrespective of whether they present with a single or multiple sites pain. Nevertheless, older adults with multisite pain may require additional attention as they appear to have a significantly elevated risk of multiple falls.

Item Type: Article
Authors/Creators:Balogun, SA and Srikanth, V and van der Leeuw, G and Callisaya, ML
Keywords: pain, falls
Journal or Publication Title: Internal Medicine Journal
Publisher: Blackwell Publishing Asia
ISSN: 1444-0903
DOI / ID Number: 10.1111/imj.15659
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