Suicide in Musculoskeletal Patients at Older Age

Patients with musculoskeletal diseases use analgesics or nonviolent methods to commit suicide

THURSDAY, March 31 (HealthDay News) -- Suicide victims who have back pain or other musculoskeletal diseases (MSD) are older than those without MSD, according to a study published in the April 1 issue of Spine.

Sanna Löfman, M.D., from the University of Oulu in Finland, and colleagues analyzed data from suicides in Oulu during a period of 19 years to compare the characteristics of 133 suicide victims with back pain (including sciatica), 357 with MSD other than back pain, and 1,820 without MSD. Death certificates from official medicolegal investigations were used to extract suicide data.

The researchers found that the age of death of victims with back pain was about 11 years older compared with those without MSD. Nonviolent suicide methods and use of analgesics in poisoning suicides were more common in both genders in the back pain and MSD groups, after adjusting for age. In the back pain and MSD groups, hospital-treated depression or substance-related disorders were more common in men. Women with back pain who committed suicide were more often under the influence of alcohol than any other group.

"Victims with a history of hospital-treated MSD committed suicide at older age. However, the older the person is, the more is the chance that he or she needs to have a treatment for some MSD at some point of life," the authors write.

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