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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2011 Aug 15;36(18):1492-500. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181f40ddd.

The incidence of low back pain in active duty United States military service members.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Tripler Army Medical Center, Honolulu, Hawaii, USA. jeffrey.bruce.knox@us.army.mil

Abstract

STUDY DESIGN:

Epidemiological study.

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the incidence and risk factors for developing low back pain in active duty military population to include age, sex, race, and rank, and military service.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA:

Low back pain is among the most common musculoskeletal conditions worldwide and is estimated to affect nearly two-thirds of the US population at some point in their lives. Low back pain is a multifactorial disease and many risk factors have been implicated including age, race, sex, and marital status.

METHODS:

A query was performed using the US Defense Medical Epidemiology Database (DMED) for the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision, Clinical Modification code for low back pain (724.20). 13,754,261 person-years of data were investigated. Multivariate Poisson regression analysis was used to estimate the rate of low back pain per 1000 person-years, whereas controlling for sex, race, rank, service, age, and marital status.

RESULTS:

The overall unadjusted incidence rate of low back pain was 40.5 per 1000 person-years. Women, compared with men, had a significantly increased incidence rate ratio for low back pain of 1.45. The incidence rate ratio for the 40+ age group compared with the 20 to 29 years of age group was 1.28. With junior officers as the referent category, junior- and senior-enlisted rank groups had increased incidence rate ratio for low back pain, 1.95 and 1.35, respectively. Each service, when compared with the Marines as the referent category, had a significantly increased incidence rate ratio of low back pain: Army: 2.19, Navy: 1.02, and Air Force: 1.54. Compared with single service members, significantly increased incidence rate ratio for low back pain were seen in married service members: 1.21.

CONCLUSION:

Female sex, enlisted rank groups, service in the Army, Navy, or Air Force, age greater than 40 years, and a marital status of married were all risk factors for low back pain.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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