Anxiety, depression and pain intensity in patients with low back pain who are admitted to acute care hospitals

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Abstract

Aim

This study examines the relationship between anxiety, depression and pain intensity in patients with low back pain who are newly admitted to an acute care hospital setting.

Background

Previous studies have supported the idea that anxiety and depression play a significant role in chronic low back pain, but the relationship between anxiety, depression and pain intensity in patients with low back pain who are newly admitted to hospital has not been adequately explored.

Method

The study reported here was descriptive correlational in design. The sample was 102 Chinese patients with low back pain who were newly admitted to an acute care hospital in Hong Kong. Data were collected through individual interviews, using an 11-point numerical pain rating scale and the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale. In addition, demographic data were identified from the medical record.

Results

There were 48 male and 54 female adult participants in the study. The average anxiety and depression level of the participants was 19·46 (SD 9·02) on a scale of 0–42, which is higher than the normal level. The level of anxiety and depression was significantly positively correlated with pain intensity (r = 0·471, p < 0·0005) and was also a significant predictor of pain intensity (t = 3·918, p < 0·0005, 95% CI 0·050–0·154).

Conclusion

The results of this study showed that anxiety and depression are not only associated with pain intensity but that they also, partly, predict pain intensity in patients with low back pain who are newly admitted to an acute care hospital.

Relevance to clinical practice

The results of this study support the assessment of and intervention in anxiety and depression symptoms in the provision of pain-relief nursing treatment in patients with low back pain who are admitted to acute care hospitals.

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