PURPOSE: The context in which physical activity is performed may affect self-reported indicators of pain. Using the Melbourne Collaborative Cohort Study, we examined associations between occupation, household, transport, and leisure physical activity with pain interference and muscle pain after activity.
METHODS: The analysis included 9,577 working and 12,281 non-working participants. Physical activity was assessed using the International Physical Activity Questionnaire-Long Form. Pain interference was assessed using SF-12, and muscle pain after activity was assessed using Sphere-12. Ordered logistic regression was used to estimate odds ratios (OR) and 95% confidence intervals (CI), and restricted cubic splines were used to graphically represent the dose-response association between each physical activity domain and pain outcome.
RESULTS: Compared to those in the lowest quartile, participants in the highest quartile for transport activity had less pain interference (workers OR: 0.84, 95% CI: 0.74, 0.95; non-workers OR: 0.80, 95% CI: 0.71, 0.89) and muscle pain after activity (workers OR: 0.82; 95% CI: 0.69, 0.98; non-workers OR: 0.81, 95% CI: 0.71, 0.93). Similarly, participants in the highest quartile of leisure activity had less pain interference (workers: OR: 0.82; 95% CI: 0.69, 0.98; non-workers OR: 0.81, 95% CI: 0.71, 0.93) and muscle pain after activity (workers OR: 0.79; 95% CI: 0.64, 0.96; non-workers: OR: 0.89, 95% CI: 0.76, 1.03). In workers only, participants in the highest quartile of household activity reported more pain interference (OR: 1.37; 95% CI: 1.20, 1.57) and muscle pain after activity (OR: 1.34; 95% CI: 1.12, 1.61) than those in the lowest quartile. Occupational activity was not associated with either pain outcome.
CONCLUSIONS: Within the transport and leisure domains, physical activity was inversely associated with pain-related outcomes, whereas more household physical activity was positively associated with pain scores within the working sample.