European Spine Journal

, Volume 15, Issue 6, pp 802–806 | Cite as

Back and neck pain in seniors—prevalence and impact

  • Jan Hartvigsen
  • Henrik Frederiksen
  • Kaare Christensen
Original Article


Neck pain (NP) and back pain (BP) are common complaints in seniors yet specific information on these complaints is lacking in the scientific literature. We present cross-sectional interview data from the 2003 data collection within the population based Longitudinal Study of Aging Danish Twins dealing with the 1-month prevalence of NP and BP and the intensity of possible pain. Further, we present the 1-year prevalence of NP and BP, duration of pain, influence of NP and BP on daily activities and care seeking for NP and BP. 84.4% of invited twins aged 70–102 years participated in the study. The 1-month prevalence of NP and BP was similar to previously reported results. 7% of men and 13% of women reported moderate or severe NP and 12% of men and 19% of women reported moderate or severe BP on a monthly basis. 10% of men and 12% of women reported more than 30 days of NP within the past year and 13% of men and 21% of women reported more than 30 days of BP within the past year. 5% of men and 8% of women had altered or diminished their physical activities due to NP and 9% of men and 16% of women had diminished their physical activities due to BP within the past year. 10% of men and 12% of women had had treatment for NP within the past year and 13% of men and 19% of women had had treatment for BP within the past year, most commonly from general medical practitioners and physical therapists. Altering or diminishing physical activities and care seeking were associated with both pain intensity and duration of pain. NP and BP of longer duration were associated with significantly lower physical performance scores when compared to no NP or BP during the past year. NP and BP in seniors are probably associated with difficulty but not inability to perform daily activities.


Back pain Neck pain Epidemiology Geriatrics 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jan Hartvigsen
    • 1
    • 2
  • Henrik Frederiksen
    • 3
  • Kaare Christensen
    • 3
  1. 1.Nordic Institute of Chiropractic and Clinical Biomechanics, ResearchOdense CDenmark
  2. 2.Institute of Sports Science and Clinical BiomechanicsUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense CDenmark
  3. 3.Institute of Public Health, EpidemiologyUniversity of Southern DenmarkOdense CDenmark

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