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Analyzing musculoskeletal neck pain, measured as present pain and periods of pain, with three different regression models: a cohort study

Journal article
Authors Anna Grimby-Ekman
Mats Hagberg
Eva M. Andersson
Published in BMC Musculoskelet Disord
Volume 10
Issue 73
ISSN 1471-2474
Publication year 2009
Published at Institute of Medicine, School of Public Health and Community Medicine
Language en
Keywords Adolescent, Adult, Cohort Studies, Computers, Female, Humans, Life Style, Logistic Models, Longitudinal Studies, Male, Musculoskeletal Diseases/diagnosis/*etiology/psychology, Neck Pain/diagnosis/*etiology/psychology, Occupational Diseases/diagnosis/*etiology/psychology, Odds Ratio, Pain Measurement, Poisson Distribution, Predictive Value of Tests, Questionnaires, Risk Assessment, Risk Factors, Sex Factors, Smoking/adverse effects, Stress, Psychological/complications, Students, Sweden, Time Factors, Workload, Young Adult
Subject categories Medical and Health Sciences


BACKGROUND: In the literature there are discussions on the choice of outcome and the need for more longitudinal studies of musculoskeletal disorders. The general aim of this longitudinal study was to analyze musculoskeletal neck pain, in a group of young adults. Specific aims were to determine whether psychosocial factors, computer use, high work/study demands, and lifestyle are long-term or short-term factors for musculoskeletal neck pain, and whether these factors are important for developing or ongoing musculoskeletal neck pain. METHODS: Three regression models were used to analyze the different outcomes. Pain at present was analyzed with a marginal logistic model, for number of years with pain a Poisson regression model was used and for developing and ongoing pain a logistic model was used. Presented results are odds ratios and proportion ratios (logistic models) and rate ratios (Poisson model). The material consisted of web-based questionnaires answered by 1204 Swedish university students from a prospective cohort recruited in 2002. RESULTS: Perceived stress was a risk factor for pain at present (PR = 1.6), for developing pain (PR = 1.7) and for number of years with pain (RR = 1.3). High work/study demands was associated with pain at present (PR = 1.6); and with number of years with pain when the demands negatively affect home life (RR = 1.3). Computer use pattern (number of times/week with a computer session > or = 4 h, without break) was a risk factor for developing pain (PR = 1.7), but also associated with pain at present (PR = 1.4) and number of years with pain (RR = 1.2). Among life style factors smoking (PR = 1.8) was found to be associated to pain at present. The difference between men and women in prevalence of musculoskeletal pain was confirmed in this study. It was smallest for the outcome ongoing pain (PR = 1.4) compared to pain at present (PR = 2.4) and developing pain (PR = 2.5). CONCLUSION: By using different regression models different aspects of neck pain pattern could be addressed and the risk factors impact on pain pattern was identified. Short-term risk factors were perceived stress, high work/study demands and computer use pattern (break pattern). Those were also long-term risk factors. For developing pain perceived stress and computer use pattern were risk factors.

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