High risks of falls have been reported in older adults with chronic pain but chronic pain similarly affects adults of all ages. This cross-sectional study aimed to determine the prevalence of falls and associated risk factors in adults of all ages living with chronic pain.
Patient-reported data were analyzed from 591 adults with chronic pain enrolled in a local pain clinic between November 2017 and April 2019. Sociodemographic, history of falls, and biopsychosocial measures of pain were examined to identify and describe adults with chronic pain who fell in the previous year. Factors associated with falls were examined using logistic regression.
268 (45%) reported at least one fall in the previous year (fallers) where 194 (33%) fell in the previous 3 months, and 185 (31%) had multiple falls. Prevalence of falls in the previous year was over 37% across age groups. Overall, fallers were older, had greater pain severity and interference, lower physical function and pain self-efficacy, greater depression, more reported neuropathic pain, and had more pain sites compared to non-fallers. Number of pain sites reported (OR= 1.12, 95% CI= 1.02-1.22) and lower physical function (OR= 0.96, 95% CI= 0.94-0.99) were independently associated with falls.
High prevalence of falls was found independent of age for adults with chronic pain. Although risk of falls may increase with age, lower physical function and more pain sites are better indicators for falls. A better understanding of circumstances and consequences of falls in all adults with chronic pain is warranted.