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Impact of the fall prevention Otago Exercise Programme on pain among community-dwelling older adults: a short- and long-term follow-up study

Authors Cederbom S, Arkkukangas M

Received 3 January 2019

Accepted for publication 19 February 2019

Published 26 April 2019 Volume 2019:14 Pages 721—726


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Richard Walker

Sara Cederbom,1 Marina Arkkukangas2,3

1OsloMet – Oslo Metropolitan University, Faculty of Health Sciences, Department of Physiotherapy, Oslo, Norway; 2Uppsala University, Department of Neuroscience, Section of Physiotherapy, Eskilstuna, Sweden; 3Uppsala University, Centre for Clinical Research Sörmland, Eskilstuna, Sweden

Background: Pain is a major public health issue among community-dwelling older adults, with a prevalence of 45–80%. In addition to being strongly associated with reduced physical function, loss of independence, psychological distress, lower quality of life, and risk of earlier death. Recent research has also found that pain in older adults is associated with a higher risk of falls, which itself is another major health concern. Long-term and high-intensity pain are predictors of chronic pain and pain-related disability. Therefore, establishing an evidence-based intervention that can reduce both pain and falls in older adults is of high importance.
Purpose: This study aimed to investigate whether a home-based fall-preventive exercise-program can reduce pain in the target population over both the short and long term.
Patients and methods: This was a quasi-experimental study with a 1-group pretest-posttest design. We included 119 participants who had participated in a recent 2-year fall prevention intervention in a randomized controlled trial. The intervention included exercises based on the Otago Exercise Programme (OEP), an individually tailored and prescribed program that involves home-based exercises supervised by a physiotherapist. Pain was measured using an item from the EuroQol-5D questionnaire.
Results: Pain was significantly reduced from baseline (n=119) at 3 (n=105, p=0.003), 12 (n=96, p=0.041), and 24 (n=80, p=0.028) months following the commencement of OEP-based exercises.
Conclusions: These results indicate that the OEP could be a suitable evidence-based program for both pain management and fall prevention among community-dwelling older people who live with pain and are at a higher risk of falling. Our study highlights an effective technique for better pain management and fall prevention in older adults.

Keywords: elderly, pain management, physical therapy, randomized controlled trial

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