Association between educational level and self-reported musculoskeletal pain and physical functioning in Danes 60–70 years old from 2010 to 2017: a longitudinal analysis of trends over time on data from the Danish Health and Morbidity Survey

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Objectives The aims of this study were to investigate the association between educational level and musculoskeletal pain and physical function, respectively, in persons 60–70 years old, and to investigate if the association changed from 2010 to 2017. Design and participants This is a sex-stratified, cross-sectional study based on data from the Danish Health and Morbidity Survey in 2010 (n=15 165) and in 2017 (n=14 022). Self-reported data from respondents who were 60–70 years old and reported data for pain or physical function, sociodemographic, education and behavioural factors were included. Primary outcome measures Prevalence of pain and physical limitations. Results Among men, a high educational level was associated with reduced odds of pain compared with low educational level (OR 0.56 (95% CI 0.41; 0.74)). Medium and high educational levels were associated with reduced odds of pain in women (0.74 (0.59; 0.92) and 0.64 (0.41; 1.00), respectively). High educational level was associated with reduced odds of physical limitations in men (0.35 (0.19; 0.65)) and women (0.33 (0.14; 0.78)). The interaction terms between time and education were not associated with pain and physical function, respectively. Conclusion High education was associated with reduced musculoskeletal pain and reduced limitations of physical function. The association between education and musculoskeletal pain and physical function did not change significantly over time. Musculoskeletal pain during the past 14 days and chronic pain among old men and women 60–70 years and their level of physical function contribute to important knowledge of a group near the retirement age. The future perspectives illustrate trends and importance of focusing on adapting job accommodations for senior workers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere073523
JournalBMJ Open
Issue number11
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2023

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