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Chronic neck pain and anxiety-depression: prevalence and associated risk factors

Imane Elbinoune
Bouchra Amine
Siham Shyen
Sanae Gueddari
Redouane Abouqal
Najia Hajjaj-Hassouni


Introduction: Chronic pain in rheumatology often has a psychic impact, which may aggravate the daily life of patients. Chronic neck pain, as an example, is a frequent reason for consultation. The aim of this study is to assess the prevalence of anxiety and depression in patients with neck pain, and identify risk factors associated with their occurrence. Methods: it was a cross-sectional study that concerned 80 patients with neck pain lasting for more than 3 months, seen in rheumatology consultations. All patients with symptomatic neck pain or psychological history or receiving psychotropic medication were excluded from the study. For each patient, we determined the sociodemographic characteristics and clinical ones. The anxious and depressed mood was assessed by the Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale (HAD). Results: Of the 80 patients, 67 (83.8%) were women. Average age of our population was 51.8± 11.8 years. Median duration of symptoms was 24 months [12, 48]. Mean VAS pain was 63.9% ± 12.5, mean VAS functional discomfort was 60.9% ± 14.2 and mean VAS disability was 59.8% ± 14.7. 32 patients (40%) were illiterate and 18 (22.5%) had university level. Anxiety was found in 54 (68.4%) and 44 (55.7%) patients were depressed. In univariate analysis, VAS disability was statistically linked to anxiety (OR:1.05; 95%CI: 1.01-1.08; p = 0.02). The cervicobrachial neuralgia (CBN) was significantly associated with depression (OR: 3.33; 95%CI: 1.20-9.23; p=0.02). Primary education level had a statistically significant relationship with anxiety (OR: 6.00; 95%CI: 1.03-34.84; p=0.04) and depression (OR: 5.00; 95%CI: 1.09-22.82; p=0.03). In multivariate analysis, VAS disability and CBN were independently associated with anxiety and depression respectively. Conclusion: This study underlines the fact that anxiety and depression are prevalent in chronic neck pain (CNP) patients. Furthermore, disability and CBN which are linked to CNP can predict which patient is at higher risk of psychological distress.

The Pan African Medical Journal 2016;24

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eISSN: 1937-8688