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Papers: 10 Dec 2022 - 16 Dec 2022

2022 Dec 12

Pain Pract

Systematic review and meta-analysis on the association between chronic low back pain and cognitive function.



This study aimed to identify and assess the evidence on the association between idiopathic chronic low back pain (LBP) and cognitive function in individuals with LBP. A secondary aim was to explore whether changes in cognitive function are associated with pain characteristics and psychological factors (e.g., catastrophizing and fear of movement). Eleven studies were included in this systematic review and four meta-analyses were conducted. Low to very low quality evidence suggests impaired cognitive function in individuals with LBP compared to asymptomatic controls for problem solving ((k=5; d= 0.33; CI=0.16-0.50; z=3.85 p=0.0001), speed of information processing (k=5; d= 0.44; CI=0.22-0.65; z=4.02 p<0.0001), working memory (k=6; d= 0.50; CI=0.34-0.66; z=6.09 p<0.0001) and delayed memory (k=3; d= 0.34; CI=0.07-0.6, z=2.49 p=0.02). The association between LBP intensity and psychological factors and cognitive function was inconclusive. More studies are needed to explore these associations and improve evidence in this field. The results of this study suggest that cognitive aspects should be considered during the rehabilitation process of patients with LBP, and raise further questions, including whether individuals with LBP are at a greater risk of developing dementia or whether targeting cognitive function will increase the probability of success of LBP treatment. These questions should, also, be considered in future studies.