The OPAL study is a prospective cohort study seeking to determine the causes and consequences of mobility and functional disability in later life, and the role that musculoskeletal problems (particularly low back pain) have in that process. Our objective is to develop a prognostic tool which will help patients, GPs and other health professionals to identify when low back pain should be prioritised as a treatment target older people. 

We plan to conduct a study of community dwelling adults (n= 4,000) aged 65 years and over, with and without low back pain, to allow us to describe the prevalence, severity, course and prognosis of back pain in older people and to evaluate the impact of back pain and comorbidities on important health outcomes for older people (notably quality of life, mobility, falls and pain). 

We are seeking the support of GP practices across England to identify and contact potential participants for the study.

If you would like to know more about the OPAL study, please visit the dedicated study website, or contact the research team on opal@ndorms.ox.ac.uk. 

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