PURPOSE: Previous studies found higher levels of pain severity and disability to be associated with higher costs and lower health-related quality of life. However, these findings were based on cross-sectional data and little is known about the longitudinal relationships between pain severity and disability versus health-related quality of life and costs among chronic low back pain patients. This study aims to cover this knowledge gap by exploring these longitudinal relationships in a consecutive cohort.
METHODS: Data of 6316 chronic low back pain patients were used. Measurements took place at 3, 6, 9, and 12 months. Pain severity (Numeric pain rating scale; range: 0-100), disability (Oswestry disability index; range: 0-100), health-related quality of life (EQ-5D-3L: range: 0-1), societal and healthcare costs (cost questionnaire) were measured. Using linear generalized estimating equation analyses, longitudinal relationships were explored between: (1) pain severity and health-related quality of life, (2) disability and health-related quality of life, (3) pain severity and societal costs, (4) disability and societal costs, (5) pain severity and healthcare costs, and (6) disability and healthcare costs.
RESULTS: Higher pain and disability levels were statistically significantly related with poorer health-related quality of life (pain intensity: - 0.0041; 95% CI - 0.0043 to - 0.0039; disability: - 0.0096; 95% CI - 0.0099 to - 0.0093), higher societal costs (pain intensity: 7; 95% CI 5 to 8; disability: 23; 95% CI 20 to 27) and higher healthcare costs (pain intensity: 3; 95% CI 2 to 4; disability: 9; 95% CI 7 to 11).
CONCLUSION: Pain and disability were longitudinally related to health-related quality of life, societal costs, and healthcare costs. Disability had a stronger association with all outcomes compared to pain.
- Health-related quality of life
- Longitudinal analysis
- Low back pain
- Societal costs