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Chronic musculoskeletal complaints as a predictor of mortality—The HUNT study

Åsberg, Anders N.; Stovner, Lars J.; Zwart, John-Anker; Winsvold, Bendik S.; Heuch, Ingrid; Hagen, Knut

doi: 10.1097/j.pain.0000000000000537
Research Paper
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Global Year 2016

The impact of chronic musculoskeletal complaints (CMSC) and chronic widespread chronic musculoskeletal complaints (CWMSC) on mortality is controversial. The aim of this study was to investigate the relationship between these conditions and mortality. In this prospective population-based cohort study from Norway, baseline data from the second Nord-Trøndelag Health Survey (HUNT2, performed 1995-1997) were linked to the comprehensive National Cause of Death Registry in Norway with follow-up through the year 2011. A total of 65,026 individuals (70%) participated and were categorized based on their response to CMSC questions in HUNT2 (no CMSC, CMSC, or CWMSC). Hazard ratios (HRs) of mortality during a mean of 14.1 years of follow-up were estimated using Cox regression. During the follow-up period, 12,521 subjects died, 5162 from cardiovascular diseases, 3478 from cancer, and 3881 from all other causes. In the multivariate-adjusted analyses, there was no difference in all-cause mortality between individuals with or without CMSC (HR 1.01, confidence interval, 0.97-1.05) and CWMSC (HR 1.01, confidence interval, 0.96-1.05). Similarly, there was no association between CMSC or CWMSC and cardiovascular mortality, mortality from cancer, or mortality from all other causes. Therefore, from this study, we conclude that there is no evidence for a higher mortality rate among individuals with CMSC or CWMSC.

Individuals with chronic musculoskeletal complaints or chronic widespread musculoskeletal complaints should find reassurance knowing that their conditions do not represent a health hazard in the long run.

aDepartment of Neuroscience, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, Trondheim, Norway

bNorwegian Advisory Unit on Headaches, St. Olavs University Hospital, Trondheim, Norway

cDepartment of Neurology and FORMI; Oslo University Hospital, Oslo, Norway

dInstitute of Clinical Medicine, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

Corresponding author. Address: Department of Neuroscience, Faculty of Medicine, Norwegian University of Science and Technology, 7489 Trondheim, Norway, Tel.: +4795287210; fax: +47 72 57 56 57. E-mail address: anderasb@stud.ntnu.no (A. N. Åsberg).

Sponsorships or competing interests that may be relevant to content are disclosed at the end of this article.

Received December 11, 2015

Received in revised form February 08, 2016

Accepted February 17, 2016

© 2016 International Association for the Study of Pain
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