PTSD tied to chronic back pain in twin-control study

  • Suri P & al.
  • Spine (Phila Pa 1976)
  • 26 Mar 2019

  • International Clinical Digest
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Takeaway

  • Patients with PTSD and no back pain at baseline were significantly more likely to have developed chronic back pain (CBP) at a 5-year follow-up than those without PTSD, independent of genetic and familiar factors.

Why this matters

  • This study, involving participants of the Vietnam-Era Twin Registry, is the first longitudinal co-twin control study of identical twins to find a significant association between a psychological risk factor and incident back pain.

Study design

  • 171 monozygotic twin pairs from the Vietnam-Era Twin Registry completed the PTSD Symptom Checklist and a self-report measure of CBP at baseline.
  • 227 men including 91 twin pairs completed a follow-up survey at 5 years.
  • Primary outcome: incident CBP at 5 years.
  • Funding: None disclosed.

Key results

  • At 5-year follow-up, 110 men reported incident CBP.
  • Both co-twins reported on the presence or absence of incident CBP at follow-up in 86 twin pairs.
  • 5-year CBP incidence was 64% in those with baseline PTSD symptoms and 41% in those without baseline PTSD symptoms.
  • After adjusting for familial factors, baseline PTSD symptoms showed significant association with incident CBP at 5-year follow-up (risk ratio, 1.6; P=.001).

Limitations

  • Recall bias.

Coauthored with Antara Ghosh, PhD

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