To identify factors associated with neck pain and its related disability in Saskatchewan adults.
Little is known about the etiology of neck pain and its related disability. Previous cross-sectional population-based studies have suggested that neck pain may be associated with age, female gender, lower socioeconomic status, physically demanding work, and other comorbidities.
The Saskatchewan Health and Back Pain Survey was mailed to 2184 randomly selected Saskatchewan adults 20 to 69 years of age. Fifty-five percent of the study population participated. The survey collected demographic, socioeconomic, and health-related information. Neck pain and its related disability was classified into four categories using the Chronic Pain Questionnaire: no neck pain (Grade 0), low intensity/low disability neck pain (Grade I), high intensity/low disability neck pain (Grade II), and high disability neck pain (Grades III-IV). Polytomous logistic regression was used to identify associations between demographic, socioeconomic, and health-related variables and various grades of neck pain severity.
Of the 1131 respondents, 54% had experienced neck pain at some point in the 6 months before the survey, and almost 5% were highly disabled by neck pain. The prevalence of Grade I neck pain was lower in individuals with low education attainment, but higher for those reporting headaches, low back pain, better general health, and a history of neck injury resulting from a motor vehicle collision, some of whom may have received compensation for their injury. Grade II neck pain was strongly associated with headache, low back pain, and a history of neck injury during a motor vehicle collision and weakly associated with digestive disorders and current cigarette smoking. Grades III-IV neck pain was strongly associated with low back pain, headaches, cardiovascular disorders, digestive disorders, and a history of neck injury during a motor vehicle collision.
This study suggests that important associations exist between comorbidities, a past history of neck injury resulting from a motor vehicle collision, and graded neck pain. Importantly, individuals who are significantly disabled by neck pain also have comorbidities that have a moderate or severe impact on their health, suggesting that chronic disorders tend to cluster in some individuals.