Objectives: This study determined health and well being of persons with adolescent idiopathic scoliosis (AIS) more than 10 years after referral. This communication will present results related to back pain.
Study design: This study was designed as a comparative retrospective cohort study. Subjects referred for AIS between 1960 and 1979 to a large pediatric hospital in Montreal, Quebec, were entered into the cohort. A population-based control group was selected from the general population of Quebec using a telephone survey.
Methods: Back pain was assessed by postal questionnaires administered, in 1990, to the AIS cohort and to the control group. Most outcomes were ordinal and, thus, odds ratios were estimated using ordinal regression while adjusting for potential confounding factors.
Results: Among the 1,476 AIS subjects responding, 73% experienced one or more episodes of back pain in the past year, significantly more than the 1,755 controls (56%); for current back pain, these proportions were also significantly different: 44% for AIS subjects and 24% for controls. In comparison to controls, AIS subjects reported pain that was more intense, continuous, generalized throughout the back, and radiating into the extremities. AIS subjects were also more restricted in many usual daily activities. Little variability was observed in the prevalence of current back pain and back pain in the past year according to treatment and degree of curvature. Difficulty with managing pain, lifting, walking, and socializing was, however, associated with severity. The results of this study suggest that back pain is responsible for a considerable amount of disability and handicap in later life. Health professionals involved with the management of persons with AIS need to consider this important outcome and need to put in place procedures for the identification, investigation, prevention, and treatment of back pain.