Is neck pain associated with worse health-related quality of life 6 months later? A population-based cohort study

P. S. Nolet, P. Cote, V. L. Kristman, M. Rezai, L. J. Carroll, J. D. Cassidy

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

Abstract

Background context Current evidence suggests that neck pain is negatively associated with health-related quality of life (HRQoL). However, these studies are cross-sectional and do not inform the association between neck pain and future HRQoL. Purpose The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between increasing grades of neck pain severity and HRQoL 6 months later. In addition, this longitudinal study examines the crude association between the course of neck pain and HRQoL. Study design This is a population-based cohort study. Patient sample Eleven hundred randomly sampled Saskatchewan adults were included. Outcome measures Outcome measures were the mental component summary (MCS) and physical component summary (PCS) of the Short-Form-36 (SF-36) questionnaire. Methods We formed a cohort of 1,100 randomly sampled Saskatchewan adults in September 1995. We used the Chronic Pain Questionnaire to measure neck pain and its related disability. The SF-36 questionnaire was used to measure physical and mental HRQoL 6 months later. Multivariable linear regression was used to measure the association between graded neck pain and HRQoL while controlling for confounding. Analysis of variance and t tests were used to measure the crude association among four possible courses of neck pain and HRQoL at 6 months. The neck pain trajectories over 6 months were no or mild neck pain, improving neck pain, worsening neck pain, and persistent neck pain. Finally, analysis of variance was used to examine changes in baseline to 6-month PCS and MCS scores among the four neck pain trajectory groups. Results The 6-month follow-up rate was 74.9%. We found an exposure-response relationship between neck pain and physical HRQoL after adjusting for age, education, arthritis, low back pain, and depressive symptomatology. Compared with participants without neck pain at baseline, those with mild (β=-1.53, 95% confidence interval [CI]=-2.83, -0.24), intense (β=-3.60, 95% CI=-5.76, -1.44), or disabling (β=-8.55, 95% CI=-11.68, -5.42) neck pain had worse physical HRQoL 6 months later. We did not find an association between neck pain and mental HRQoL. A worsening course of neck pain and persistent neck pain were associated with worse physical HRQoL. Conclusions We found that neck pain was negatively associated with physical but not mental HRQoL. Our analysis suggests that neck pain may be a contributor of future poor physical HRQoL in the population. Raising awareness of the possible future impact of neck pain on physical HRQoL is important for health-care providers and policy makers with respect to the management of neck pain in populations.

Original languageEnglish
JournalSpine Journal
Volume15
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)675-684
ISSN1529-9430
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1. Apr 2015

Keywords

  • Cohort study
  • Disability
  • Epidemiology
  • Health-related quality of life
  • Neck pain
  • Risk
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Humans
  • Middle Aged
  • Male
  • Neck Pain/epidemiology
  • Canada
  • Quality of Life
  • Adult
  • Female
  • Surveys and Questionnaires
  • Aged
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Cohort Studies

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