Study design: Population-based, cross-sectional mailed survey.
Objective: To identify factors associated with neck pain and its related disability in Saskatchewan adults.
Summary of background information: 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.
Methods: 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.
Results: 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.
Conclusion: 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.