Older adult’s experience of chronic low back pain and its implications on their daily life: Study protocol of a systematic review of qualitative research

Arnold Yu Lok Wong, Katarina Forss, Jenny Jakobsson, Veronika Schoeb Mezzanotte Amat, Christine Kumlien, Gunilla Borglin (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Of various chronic diseases, low back pain (LBP) is the most common and debilitating musculoskeletal condition among older adults aged 65 years or older. While more than 17 million older adults in the USA suffer from at least one episode of LBP annually, approximately six million of them experience chronic LBP that significantly affects their quality of life and physical function. Since many older adults with chronic LBP may also have comorbidities and are more sensitive to pain than younger counterparts, these older individuals may face unique age-related physical and psychosocial problems. While some qualitative research studies have investigated the life experiences of older adults with chronic LBP, no systematic review has integrated and synthesized the scientific knowledge regarding the influence of chronic LBP on the physical, psychological, and social aspects of lives in older adults. Without such information, it may result in unmet care needs and ineffective interventions for this vulnerable group. Therefore, the objective of this systematic review is to synthesize knowledge regarding older adults’ experiences of living with chronic LBP and the implications on their daily lives.

Candidate publications will be sought from databases: PubMed, CINAHL, and PsycINFO. Qualitative research studies will be included if they are related to the experiences of older adults with chronic LBP. Two independent reviewers will screen the titles, abstracts, and full-text articles for eligibility. The reference lists of the included studies will be checked for additional relevant studies. Forward citation tracking will be conducted. Meta-ethnography will be chosen to synthesize the data from the included studies. Specifically, the second-order concepts that are deemed to be translatable by two independent reviewers will be included and synthesized to capture the core of the idiomatic translations (i.e., a translation focusing on salient categories of meaning rather than the literal translation of words or phrases).

This systematic review of qualitative evidence will enable researchers to identify potential unmet care needs, as well as to facilitate the development of effective, appropriate, person-centered health care interventions targeting this group of individuals.
Original languageEnglish
Article number81
Pages (from-to)1
Number of pages6
JournalSystematic Reviews
Publication statusPublished - 24 May 2018


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