Higher risk of premature death from chronic musculoskeletal pain
PainSci summary of Jansson 2012?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focussed on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★☆☆?3-star ratings are for average studies, with no more (or less) than the usual common problems. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.
Can pain shorten your life? A large Swedish study of four million Swedes looked for a correlation between increased mortality and work absenteeism due to painful musculoskeletal conditions. They found the first ever evidence that people who have musculoskeletal pain may have “an increased risk of premature death.” The researchers adjusted their data for “several potential confounders.” It’s a plausible and disturbing conclusion. The costs of pain are often expressed in terms of hair-raising stats on the economics of work absenteeism — but they may be much greater still.
Knowledge regarding mortality as a potential consequence of being sickness absent because of musculoskeletal diagnoses is almost nonexistent. The association between sickness absence because of musculoskeletal diagnoses and risk of premature death was examined in a prospective, nationwide, population-based cohort study based on Swedish registers. Included were all 4,760,987 individuals who were living in Sweden December 31, 2005, aged 20 to 64years, and not on disability or old-age pension. Those sickness absent in 2005 because of musculoskeletal diagnoses were compared to those sickness absent because of non-musculoskeletal diagnoses and to those with no sickness absence. Musculoskeletal diagnoses were categorized as follows: 1) artropathies/systemic connective tissue disorders; 2) dorsopathies; and 3) soft tissue disorders/osteopathies/chondropathies/other musculoskeletal disorders. All-cause mortality was followed from 2006 to 2009 and cause-specific mortality was followed from 2006 to 2008. Hazard ratios (HRs) and 95% confidence intervals (CIs) were estimated using Cox regression. In models adjusted for socio-demographic factors, and morbidity, sickness absence because of all 3 categories of musculoskeletal diagnoses was associated with 1.3- to 1.5-fold increased risks of all-cause mortality (adjusted model, category 1 diagnoses, HR=1.50, 95% CI=1.38-1.63). Similar associations were observed among both women and men. Moreover, increased mortality risks due to tumors (HR=1.6-1.7), circulatory diseases (HR=1.2-1.5), mental disorders (HR=1.2-3.2), and suicide (HR=1.5-1.9) were observed among persons sickness absent because of musculoskeletal diagnoses. This nationwide cohort study reveals, for the first time, an increased risk of premature death among both women and men sickness absent because of musculoskeletal diagnoses after adjustment for several potential confounders.
These four articles on PainScience.com cite Jansson 2012 as a source:
- PS Pain & Injury Survival Tips — Dozens of ideas (and links) for evidence-based rehabilitation and self-treatment for common pain problems and injuries
- PS Save Yourself from Low Back Pain! — Low back pain myths debunked and all your treatment options reviewed
- PS Save Yourself from Neck Pain! — All your treatment and self-help options for a crick in the neck explained and reviewed
- PS Insomnia Until it Hurts — The role of sleep deprivation in chronic pain, especially muscle pain