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. 2018 Jan;27(1):136-144.
doi: 10.1007/s00586-017-5090-y. Epub 2017 Apr 8.

The Association Between a Lifetime History of Low Back Injury in a Motor Vehicle Collision and Future Low Back Pain: A Population-Based Cohort Study

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The Association Between a Lifetime History of Low Back Injury in a Motor Vehicle Collision and Future Low Back Pain: A Population-Based Cohort Study

Paul S Nolet et al. Eur Spine J. .

Abstract

Purpose: This population-based cohort study investigated the association between a lifetime history of a low back injury in a motor vehicle collision (MVC) and future troublesome low back pain. Participants with a history of a low back injury in a motor vehicle collision who had recovered (no or mild low back pain) were compared to those without a history of injury. Current evidence from two cross-sectional and one prospective study suggests that individuals with a history of a low back injury in a MVC are more likely to experience future LBP. There is a need to test this association prospectively in population-based cohorts with adequate control of known confounders.

Methods: We formed a cohort of 789 randomly sampled Saskatchewan adults with no or mild LBP. At baseline, participants were asked if they had ever injured their low back in a MVC. Six and 12 months later, participants were asked about the presence of troublesome LBP (grade II-IV) on the Chronic Pain Grade Questionnaire. Multivariable Cox proportional hazards regression analysis was used to estimate the association while controlling for known confounders.

Results: The follow-up rate was 74.8% (590/789) at 6 months and 64.5% (509/789) at 12 months. There was a positive crude association between a history of low back injury in a MVC and the development of troublesome LBP over a 12-month period (HRR = 2.76; 95% CI 1.42-5.39). Controlling for arthritis reduced this association (HRR = 2.25; 95% CI 1.11-4.56). Adding confounders that may be on the casual pathway (baseline LBP, depression and HRQoL) to the multivariable model further reduced the association (HRR = 2.20; 95% CI 1.04-4.68).

Conclusion: Our analysis suggests that a history of low back injury in a MVC is a risk factor for developing future troublesome LBP. The consequences of a low back injury in a MVC can predispose individuals to experience recurrent episodes of low back pain.

Keywords: Cohort studies; Low back pain; Risk factors; Traffic accidents; Whiplash injuries.

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