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Depression in patients with chronic low back pain

Abstract

Background

Low back pain is a common health issue affecting at least 80% of individuals during their lifetime. It is usually recurrent and develops into chronic low back pain (CLBP).

In chronic pain, psychosocial risk factors become relevant, and may explain how individuals respond to pain. CLBP is often comorbid with depression.

Aim

The aim of this study was to detect if there is an association between depression and functional disability in patients with CLBP.

Patients and methods

This cross-sectional, descriptive preliminary study included 50 patients with CLBP. Pain intensity was measured using visual analogue scale (VAS), functional disability was measured using the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI), and depression assessment was done using Beck depression inventory (BDI) questionnaire II.

Results

The mean age of the patients was 43.66±13.96 years. Mean scores for VAS, ODI, and BDI were 5.38±2.42, 18.66±7.26, and 22.40±9.20, respectively. A strong positive correlation was found between VAS and each of ODI and BDI (r=0.797 and 0.515, respectively; P=0.000). Similarly, a positive significant linear relation was detected between degree of disability by ODI and severity of depression by BDI (P=0.039).

Conclusion

Depression strongly influences pain intensity and degree of disability in patients with CLBP. Screening and early management of depression is essential for reducing pain and disability associated with CLBP.

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Correspondence to D Farrag.

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Nassar, N., Assaf, N., Farrag, D. et al. Depression in patients with chronic low back pain. Egypt Rheumatol Rehabil 46, 48–54 (2019). https://doi.org/10.4103/err.err_32_18

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Keywords

  • depression
  • functional disability
  • low back pain