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Do Socioeconomic Factors Predict Functional Disability in Chronic Pain Cases?

Posted Dec 20 2008 6:44pm

A study published in the November 2008 issue of Disability and Rehabilitation investigates whether socioeconomic status in patients with back pain helped predict functional disability. Using data from a national primary care trial of physical treatments for back pain (UKBEAM trial), 949 chronic pain patients were measured on Townsend scores (measuring economic deprivation), educational levels and work status adjusted for baseline variables. Roland Disability Questionnaire (RDQ) scores (measuring functional disability related to back pain) increased in relation to Townsend scores. Lower levels of educational attainment were also associated with higher RDQ scores. Those 'Not in Work' reported markedly higher levels of RDQ scores which increased over time. There was no evidence that one particular treatment was more suitable for participants of different socioeconomic status. The researchers concluded that the study findings add to existing research suggesting the importance of socioeconomic factors as an influence on health, including resultant disability related to chronic musculoskeletal conditions such as back pain. Work status was particularly dominant in their findings and may suggest that helping patients with back pain back to work where appropriate, is an especially important part of the management process.

Click here for the abstract.

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