Sharron Ladd, BSc
"It is clear that the study of back pain has been overlooked in the geriatric community, perhaps relegated to second-class status behind health conditions like diabetes, heart disease and cognitive impairment," says Dr. Hart Bressler, the primary author of the landmark study entitled "The Prevalence of Low Back Pain in the Elderly." The study, co-authored by Dr. Warren Keyes, Dr. Paula Rochon and Dr. Elizabeth Badley appeared in the September 1st issue of the journal Spine. Several reasons are cited for the under-representation of elderly in back pain studies. One of the main reasons is the economic burden of maintaining worker's compensation programs; these programs are necessarily directed at the younger working population. Other reasons are listed in Table 1.
Using the key words low back pain, back pain, elderly, geriatrics and aged for their literature analysis, the researchers found only twelve studies on low back pain in the elderly, between 1966 and the present, that met their final selection criteria! The methodologies underlying some of these studies are dubious. "Many studies have grouped younger and older patients together, such as a 40 year old with an 82 year old.