Spreading of chronic pain between body regions: Prospective cohort study among health care workers

Tidsskriftartikel - 2012


Objective: To estimate the prognostic value of pain in one body region onthe risk for developing chronic pain in other body regions.Methods: Prospective cohort study among 5052 Danish female healthcare workers responding to a baseline and follow-up questionnaire in 2005and 2006, respectively. Using adjusted logistic regression analysis, the riskfor developing chronic pain (>30 days last year) at follow-up in the lowback (among those without low back pain during the last year at baseline)when experiencing sub-chronic (1-30 days last year) or chronic pain inother body regions (i.e., the neck/shoulders and/or the knees at baseline)was modelled. Similar risks were modelled for developing chronic pain inthe neck/shoulders and knees.Results: Chronic pain in the neck/shoulders (OR 3.14; 95% CI1.74-5.70) or knees (OR 2.57; 95% CI 1.28-5.16) at baseline increased therisk for developing chronic pain in the low back at follow-up. Likewise,chronic pain in the neck/shoulders (OR 2.39; 95% CI 1.36-4.17) or lowback (OR 1.82 95%; CI 1.07-3.09) at baseline increased the risk fordeveloping chronic pain in the knees at follow-up. The risk for developingchronic neck/shoulder pain was not significantly increased when havingpain in the low back or knees at baseline.Conclusion: Among health care workers, chronic musculoskeletal painin one body region increases the risk for developing chronic pain in otherpain-free body regions. Prevention of musculoskeletal disorders amonghealth care workers should focus holistically on the musculoskeletalsystem.


Andersen LL, Clausen T, Carneiro IG, Holtermann A. Spreading of chronic pain between body regions: Prospective cohort study among health care workers. European Journal of Pain 2012;16(10):1437-1443.
doi: 10.1002/j.1532-2149.2012.00143.x

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