Findings from a recent study indicate that deployment-related moderate/severe traumatic brain injury (TBI) confers increased back pain risk in veterans, but do not support a causal effect of deployment-related mild TBI on back pain. Researchers conducted a longitudinal cohort study among veterans evaluated for TBI in the 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-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. They found:
- Deployment-related mild TBI was significantly associated with self-reported back pain in cross-sectional analyses, but not with incident episodes of VA care for back pain in longitudinal analysis.
- Deployment-related moderate/severe TBI was significantly associated with self-reported back pain in cross-sectional, and longitudinal analyses.
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. [Published online ahead of print August 30, 2018]. J Pain. doi:10.1016/j.jpain.2018.08.002.