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Deployment-Related Traumatic Brain Injury and Risk of New Episodes of Care for Back Pain in Veterans.

Suri P, Stolzmann K, Williams R, Pogoda TK. Deployment-Related Traumatic Brain Injury and Risk of New Episodes of Care for Back Pain in Veterans. The journal of pain : official journal of the American Pain Society. 2019 Jan 1; 20(1):97-107.

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Abstract:

Traumatic brain injury (TBI) may be a predisposing factor to pain syndromes other than headache. We conducted a longitudinal cohort study among veterans evaluated for TBI in the US Department of Veterans Affairs (VA). Among 36,880 veterans at baseline, 55% reported back pain. TBI history was classified by trained clinicians according to VA-US Department of Defense criteria. 14,223 Veterans without back pain were followed for up to 6 years for new (incident) episodes of VA care for back pain. We estimated adjusted odds ratios (aORs), adjusted hazard ratios (aHRs), and 95% confidence intervals (CI), accounting for covariates. Deployment-related mild TBI was significantly associated with self-reported back pain in cross-sectional analyses (aOR? = 1.27, 95% CI? = 1.21-1.35), but not with incident episodes of VA care for back pain in longitudinal analysis (aHR? = 1.07, 95% CI? = 0.99-1.17). Deployment-related moderate to severe TBI was significantly associated with self-reported back pain in cross-sectional (aOR? = 1.74, 95% CI? = 1.58-1.91), and longitudinal analyses (aHR? = 1.20, 95% CI? = 1.05-1.38; P? = .01). These findings indicate that deployment-related moderate to severe TBI confers increased back pain risk, but do not support a causal effect of deployment-related mild TBI on back pain. PERSPECTIVE: Findings from this longitudinal study of veterans indicate that deployment-related moderate to severe TBI confers increased back pain risk, but do not support a causal effect of deployment-related mild TBI on back pain.





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