Interaction between low back pain and knee pain contributes to disability level in individuals with knee osteoarthritis: a cross-sectional study

H. Iijima, Y. Suzuki, T. Aoyama, Masaki Takahashi

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To test the hypothesis that the interaction between low back pain (LBP) and knee pain intensity contributes to the disability level of individuals with knee osteoarthritis (OA). Design: Community-dwelling participants with knee OA (Kellgren/Lawrence [K/L] grade ≥1) were enrolled. LBP and its severity were identified using questionnaires. Knee pain severity and disability level were evaluated using the Japanese Knee Osteoarthritis Measure (JKOM) subscale. Multiple linear regression analyses were performed to examine the effect of the LBP–knee pain interaction, an independent variable, on disability, a dependent variable. Results: A total of 260 participants (age, 48–88 years; 77.7% women) were included. Of them, 151 (58.1%) had LBP. The LBP–knee pain interaction was significantly associated with disability after the adjustment for covariates. A post-hoc subgroup analysis revealed that the relationship between knee pain intensity and disability level was higher in individuals with LBP (beta: 0.621 points; 95% confidence interval [CI]: 0.511 to 0.731 points) than in those without LBP (beta: 0.402 points; 95% CI: 0.316 to 0.487 points). Conclusions: LBP interacts with knee pain intensity and contributes to disability level in individuals with knee OA. Coexisting LBP and knee pain had a stronger impact on disability level than LBP or knee pain alone. These findings highlight the potential deteriorative effects of the LBP–knee interaction on disability. Maximal treatment effects for disability might be achieved when LBP and knee pain are targeted simultaneously, rather than separately.

Original languageEnglish
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2018 Jan 1



  • Disability
  • Interaction
  • Knee pain
  • Low back pain

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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