Does changing weight change pain? Retrospective data analysis from a national multidisciplinary weight management service

Type Article

Journal Article


C. Dunlevy; G. A. MacLellan; E. O'Malley; C. Blake; C. Breen; K. Gaynor; N. Wallace; R. Yoder; D. Casey; J. Mehegan; B. M. Fullen; D. O'Shea

Year of publication



Eur J Pain








BACKGROUND: Musculoskeletal (MSK) pain is common in obese populations. Multidisciplinary Tier 3 weight management services (WMS) are effective in reducing weight; however, MSK pain as an outcome is not routinely reported post-WMS interventions. METHODS: Following ethical approval this retrospective design study using anonymized data from a national WMS established changes in anthropometric and pain prevalence and intensity scores as well as establishing variables predictive of achieving clinically significant changes (CSC) in pain scores. RESULTS: Of the 806 patients registered to the WMS (January 2011-February 2015), 59% (n = 476; CI = 56-62) attended their reassessments at 6 months. The overall mean age was 45.1 ± 12 years and 62% (n = 294) were female. At baseline 70% (n = 281; CI = 65-75) reported low back pain (LBP) and 59% (n = 234; CI = 54-64) had knee pain. At reassessment 37.3% (n = 177) of patients lost ≥5% body weight, 58.7% (n = 279) were weight stable (5% weight loss or gain) and 4.0% (n = 19) gained ≥5% body weight. Low back and knee pain prevalence reduced significantly for those who lost ≥5% body weight. Variables predictive of a CSC in LBP numerical rating scale (NRS) score included a higher baseline NRS score, weighing more, and rating losing weight as being important (p