Year 2021
October 2021


Abstract Title
Chronic low back pain and its association with physical function, disability, and quality of life among community-dwelling adults in Singapore



National Healthcare Group Corporate Office1 

Background & Hypothesis

Chronic low back pain (cLBP) is a globally prevalent health problem with significantly high medical and economic burden on individuals and the society. This study aimed to examine the association of chronic back pain with physical function, disability, and quality of life among local adult population.


Cross-sectional data for 1941 adults (mean age: 52.9 years, range: 21-97 years) from a representative population health survey conducted in the Central region of Singapore were analysed. Those with cLBP (lasted for > 3 months) in past 6 months were identified by self-report. The Late-Life Function and Disability Instrument and the EQ-5D-5L were used to measure physical function and disability and health-related quality of life (HRQoL), respectively. Multiple linear regressions were used to examine the association of chronic LBP with physical function and HRQoL.


Over 9% (n=180) participants reported having cLBP lasting for more than 3 months, among whom 79.4% sought treatments at either polyclinics/general practitioner clinics, specialist outpatient clinics or Traditional Chinese Medicine clinics in past 6 months. Individuals with cLBP reported significantly poorer physical function (p<0.001), more limitations in performing major life tasks and social activities (p=0.002), and lower HRQoL (EQ5D index: p=0.009; self-rated health: p<0.001) adjusting for socio-demographics and comorbidities.

Discussion & Conclusion

The findings highlight the significant impact of cLBP on physical function, disability and HRQoL in a general population. Increased awareness on prevention, early and proper management of LBP, and rehabilitation policies are required to better tackle the burden of LBP on a population level.