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OBJECTIVE: To determine the rate of new onset of widespread pain after a traumatic event (motor vehicle crash). METHODS: A prospective cohort study of persons registered with an insurance company who had or had not experienced a motor vehicle crash. All participants were sent a questionnaire to assess pre-crash (or for the non-crash group, prior) psychosocial factors and widespread pain. Participants reporting pre-crash (prior) widespread pain were excluded. At six months, participants were sent a follow up questionnaire to ascertain new prevalent widespread pain. RESULTS: 597 (51%) of participants returned a baseline questionnaire (465 crash and 132 non-crash). Among the cohort who had experienced a crash, the new onset rate of widespread pain six months later was low (8%), though in comparison with the non-crash group there was an increased risk (RR = 1.9 (95% CI, 0.8 to 4.8, adjusted for age and sex)); this was attenuated after adjustment for pre-crash (prior) psychological distress and somatic symptoms (RR = 1.4 (95% CI, 0.5 to 3.2)). CONCLUSIONS: The findings suggest that a motor vehicle crash (as an example of a physically traumatic event) is unlikely to have a major impact on the new onset of widespread pain. Any observed relation may, in part, be explained by psychological distress.

Type

Journal article

Journal

Annals of the rheumatic diseases

Publication Date

03/2006

Volume

65

Pages

391 - 393

Addresses

Epidemiology Group, Department of Public Health, University of Aberdeen, Polwarth Building, Foresterhill, Aberdeen AB25 2ZD, UK. gareth.jones@abdn.ac.uk

Keywords

Humans, Pain, Wounds and Injuries, Risk Assessment, Follow-Up Studies, Prospective Studies, Stress, Psychological, Accidents, Traffic, Sex Factors, Adolescent, Adult, Aged, Middle Aged, Female, Male