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Spine (Phila Pa 1976). 2009 Aug 1;34(17):1863-8. doi: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181ab3397.

Prevalence of self-reported neck-shoulder-arm pain and concurrent low back pain or psychological distress: time-trends in a general population, 1990-2006.

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1
Division of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, Department of Public Health Sciences, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden. ola.leijon@ki.se

Abstract

STUDY DESIGN:

Analysis of repeated cross-sectional surveys.

OBJECTIVE:

To investigate the prevalence of neck-shoulder-arm pain and concurrent low back pain and psychological distress in a geographical area over a 16-year period.

SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA:

A large number of studies have shown that nonspecific neck, shoulder, and arm pain is a very common symptom in the general population. However, few studies have followed the prevalence of neck-shoulder-arm pain within a geographical area, in order to investigate time-trends.

METHODS:

This study provides an analysis of questionnaire data collected every 4 years between 1990 and 2006 on the prevalence of neck-shoulder-arm pain and concurrent low back pain or psychological distress in the County of Stockholm, Sweden (response rate: 61%-69%). All individuals aged 21 to 64 years (n = 1976-26,611) were included in the study.

RESULTS:

Over the 16-year period, the prevalence of self-reported neck-shoulder-arm pain rose slightly, from 22.8% to 25.0% among females (prevalence rate ratio [PRR]: 1.10) and from 12.8% to 15.4% among males (PRR: 1.21). The prevalence of neck-shoulder-arm pain with concurrent low back pain also rose slightly, from 8.4% to 10.8% among females (PRR: 1.28) and from 5.3% to 6.6% among males (PRR: 1.24). In contrast, the prevalence of neck-shoulder-arm pain with concurrent psychological distress rose more substantially, from 4.4% to 8.5% among females (PRR: 1.91) and from 2.0% to 4.3% among males (PRR: 2.18). All prevalence rates rose between 1990 and 2002, and decreased in 2006 compared to 2002. The gender gap in prevalence did not change over time.

CONCLUSION:

Although the prevalence of neck-shoulder-arm pain and concurrent symptoms decreased in 2006 compared to 2002, it is still too early to conclude that we have reached and passed the peak of the "epidemic" of neck-shoulder-arm pain.

PMID:
19644338
DOI:
10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181ab3397
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
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