Original Article | Volume 18: 25 | 19 Apr 2023

Chronic musculoskeletal pain among elderly individuals in a rural area of West Bengal: A mixed-method study

ABSTRACT

Introduction: The high prevalence among elderly individuals and potential adverse impact on their overall life quality make chronic musculoskeletal pain a significant public health concern. Chronic musculoskeletal pain is an important cause of self-medication, which must be addressed to avoid various side effects and improve elderly health. This study aimed to determine the prevalence of chronic musculoskeletal pain and its associated factors among individuals (age ≥60 years) in rural West Bengal and explore their perspectives and perceived barriers regarding pain and its management.
Methods: This mixed-method study was conducted in rural West Bengal from December 2021 to June 2022. The quantitative strand was conducted by interviewing 255 elderly participants (age ≥60 years) using a structured questionnaire. The qualitative strand was conducted via in-depth interviews of 10 patients with chronic pain. Quantitative data were analyzed using SPSS version 16, and chronic pain-related factors were analyzed using logistic regression models. Qualitative data were analyzed thematically.
Results: Among the participants, 56.8% reported chronic musculoskeletal pain. The most frequently affected site was the knee joint. Comorbidity (adjusted odds ratio [aOR]=7.47, 95% confidence interval [CI]=3.2–17.5), age (aOR=5.16, 95% CI=2.2–13.5), depression (aOR=2.96, 95% CI=1.2–6.7) and over-the-counter drug usage (aOR=2.51, 95% CI=1.1–6.4) were significantly associated with chronic pain. Analgesic dependency, lack of motivation to adopt lifestyle modifications, lack of knowledge on analgesic side effects were considered pain management barriers.
Conclusion: Managing comorbidities, providing mental support, generating awareness of analgesic side effects, strengthening healthcare facilities should be prioritized for holistic chronic musculoskeletal pain management.

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