Objective: Information about recurrence and prognostic factors is important for patients and practitioners to set realistic expectations about the chances of full recovery and to reduce patient anxiety and uncertainty. Therefore, the purpose of this study was to assess recurrence and prognostic factors for neck pain in a chiropractic patient population at 1 year from the start of the current episode.
Methods: Within a prospective cohort study, 642 neck pain patients were recruited by chiropractors in Switzerland. After a course of chiropractic therapy, patients were followed up for 1 year regarding recurrence of neck pain. A logistic regression analysis was used to assess prognostic factors for recurrent neck pain. The independent variables age, pain medication usage, sex, work status, duration of complaint, previous episodes of neck pain and trauma onset, numerical rating scale, and Bournemouth questionnaire for neck pain were analyzed. Prognostic factors that have been identified in previous studies to influence recovery of neck pain are psychologic distress, poor general health at baseline, and a previous history of pain elsewhere.
Results: Five hundred forty five patients (341 females), with a mean age of 42.1 years (SD, 13.1) completed the 1-year follow-up period. Fifty-four participants (11%) were identified as “recurrent.” Prognostic factors associated with recurrent neck pain were previous episodes of neck pain and increasing age.
Conclusion: The results of this study suggest that recurrence of neck pain within 1 year after chiropractic intervention in Swiss chiropractic patients presenting from varied onsets is low. This study found preliminary findings that older age and a previous episode of neck may be useful predictors of neck pain recurrence within 1 year.
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