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Pain Intensity and Functional Outcomes for Activities of Daily Living, Gait and Balance in Older Adults Accessing Outpatient Rehabilitation Services: A Retrospective Study

Authors Pelletier R, Purcell-Levesque L, Girard MC, Roy PM, Leonard G

Received 3 April 2020

Accepted for publication 17 June 2020

Published 7 August 2020 Volume 2020:13 Pages 2013—2021

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/JPR.S256700

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Dr Michael Schatman


R Pelletier,1 L Purcell-Levesque,2 M-C Girard,2 P-M Roy,2 G Leonard2,3

1School of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine, Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada; 2Research Center on Aging, Centre intégré universitaire de santé et de services sociaux de l’Estrie - Centre hospitalier universitaire de Sherbrooke (CIUSSS de l’Estrie - CHUS), Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada; 3School of Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, Université de Sherbrooke, Sherbrooke, Quebec, Canada

Correspondence: G Leonard Email guillaume.leonard2@usherbrooke.ca

Purpose: Older adults are referred for outpatient physical therapy to improve their functional capacities. The goal of the present study was to determine if pain had an influence on functional outcomes in older adults who took part in an outpatient physical rehabilitation program.
Patients and Methods: A retrospective study was performed on the medical records of patients aged 65 and over referred for outpatient physical therapy to improve physical functioning (n=178). Pain intensity (11-point numeric pain scale) and results from functional outcome measures (Timed Up and Go [TUG], Berg Balance Scale [BBS], 10-meter walk test, 6-minute walk test and Functional Autonomy Measuring System [SMAF]) were extracted at initial (T1) and final (T2) consultations. Paired t-tests were performed to determine if there were differences in functional outcome measures between T1 and T2 in all the patients. Patients were stratified to those with pain (PAIN, n=136) and those without pain (NO PAIN, n=42). Differences in functional outcome measures between T1 and T2 (delta scores) were compared between groups with independent t-tests with Welch corrections for unequal variances. Pearson correlation coefficients between initial pain intensity and changes in functional outcome measures (T2-T1) were also performed. Correcting for multiple comparisons, a p-value of p≤ 0.01 was considered as statistically significant.
Results: The TUG, BBS, 10-meter walk test, 6-minute walk test all demonstrated improvement between T1 and T2 (all p< 0.01). There was no difference between groups for delta scores for TUG (p=0.14), BBS (p=0.03), 10-meter walk test (p=0.54), 6-minute walk test (p=0.94) and SMAF (p=0.23). Pearson correlation coefficients were weak between initial pain intensity and changes in functional outcome scores between T1 and T2 (r= − 0.16 to 0.15, all p-values > 0.10).
Conclusion: These results suggest that pain is not an impediment to functional improvements in older individuals who participated in an outpatient physical rehabilitation program.

Keywords: pain, function, physical therapy, older adults, disability

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