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01.12.2015 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2015 Open Access

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 1/2015

Pain, quality of life and activity in aged evacuees living in temporary housing after the Great East Japan earthquake of 11 March 2011: a cross-sectional study in Minamisoma City, Fukushima prefecture

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders > Ausgabe 1/2015
Shoji Yabuki, Kazuo Ouchi, Shin-ichi Kikuchi, Shin-ichi Konno
Wichtige Hinweise

Competing interests

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.

Authors’ contributions

SY conceived the study, collected data and wrote the manuscript. KO collected the data. SK and SK participated in its design and coordination and helped to draft the manuscript. All authors read and approved the final manuscript.



The aim of this study was to clarify pain, quality of life and activity in the aged evacuees living in temporary housing after the Great East Japan Earthquake on 11 March 2011.


The study was a cross-sectional study performed in Minamisoma City, Fukushima Prefecture 1 year and 6 months after the disaster. Inclusion criteria were the ability to walk independently and consent to answer questionnaires. Seventy-one evacuees who met the inclusion criteria were included in this study. There were 16 men and 55 women with a mean age of 75.9 years. Sixty evacuees were surveyed when they gathered at the assembly hall in the temporary housing (Assembled group) and 11 evacuees were surveyed through individual visits to their residences (Individual group). Evacuees in the Individual group agreed to participate in this study, but refused to visit the assembly hall to engage in exercise and recreation. Pain, quality of life (QOL) and level of activity were assessed with the Numeric Rating Scale (NRS), the MOS Short-Form 36 item Health Survey (SF-36) and a pedometer, respectively. Student’s t-test, Mann–Whitney U test, and Fisher’s exact test were used for statistical analysis.


Forty-four (62.0 %) residents had chronic pain with a mean NRS of 2.74. Twenty-one (29.6 %) of these residents had relatively severe pain rated 5 or above on the NRS. QOL was significantly lower for the subscales of “physical functioning,” “role physical”, “general health”, “social functioning”, “role emotional” and “mental health”, when compared with the national standard values. Values were also visibly lower for “physical component summary” in the summary score. On comparing the Assembled group and the Individual group, “physical function”, “role physical”, “social functioning” and “physical component summary” were found to be significantly lower in the Individual group. The mean daily number of steps was 1,892 in the Individual group and 4,579 in the Assembled group. The Individual group thus significantly took less mean daily number of steps compared with the Assembled group.


This study quantified the state of pain, QOL and activity of aged evacuees living in temporary housing after the Great East Japan Earthquake. The evacuees frequently had chronic pain and lower physical and mental QOL scores compared to the national standard values.
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