A prospective cohort study.
To study the relationship of sleep disturbances with severe back disorders leading to hospitalization.
Summary of Background Data.
Sleep disturbances are associated with persistent pain syndromes, but little is known about their relationship with back disorders.
The first hospital admission for back disorders from 1973 to 2000 was studied in a cohort of metal industry workers (n = 902). The occurrence of sleep disturbances at baseline was categorized as: none; 1 type (either difficulties in falling asleep/waking up at night or nightmares); or both types. Cox proportional hazards regression was used to estimate the time between the assessment of risk factors and first hospital admission for back disorders.
Those individuals who had 1 type of sleep disturbance had a 2.1-fold (95% confidence interval 1.1−3.8) risk of back-related hospitalization, and those with both types of disturbance a 2.4-fold (1.2−4.6) risk, compared with those with no sleep disturbances. The hazard ratios were 2.1; 1.0−4.6 and 2.9; 1.2−7.1, respectively, when patients with chronic back disease or recurrent back symptoms at baseline were excluded from the analyses.
These findings suggest that sleep disturbances are predictive of hospitalization for back disorders. The mechanism underlying this association warrants further study.