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Longitudinal Assessment of Self-Reported Recent Back Pain and Combat Deployment in the Millennium Cohort Study

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Journal Article

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Naval Health Research Center San Diego United States

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STUDY DESIGN A prospective cohort study. OBJECTIVE Activities performed during military operations vary in complexity and physical demand. The risk for mental illness following military combat deployment has been well documented. However, information regarding the possible contribution of back pain to decreased mental and functional health is scarce. To our knowledge, this is the first study to prospectively assess deployment and self-reported recent back pain in a population-based U.S. military cohort. SUMMARY OF BACKGROUND DATA The study consisted of Millennium Cohort participants who were followed for the development of back pain for an average of 3.9 years. METHODS Descriptive statistics and longitudinal analyses were used to assess the temporal relationship of deployment with self-reported recent back pain at follow-up N53,933. RESULTS Recent back pain was self-reported by 8379 15.5 participants at follow-up. After adjusting for covariates, deployers with combat experiences had higher odds odds ratio OR1.38, 95 confidence interval 95 CI 1.28-1.50 of recent back pain than noncombat deployers. There was no association between recent back pain and non-deployers compared with noncombat deployers. Service supportsupply handlers were at an increased odds of reporting recent back pain OR1.11, 95 CI 1.02-1.21 than functional supportadministration occupations. Occupations associated with a physically demanding work environment had a higher risk of back pain. CONCLUSION Deployers with combat experiences were more likely to report back pain post deployment. This well-defined group of military personnel may potentially benefit from integrated prevention efforts.

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  • Medicine and Medical Research
  • Military Forces and Organizations

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