Background The relationship between chronic multisite musculoskeletal pain (CMP) and sleep is complex, where pain can lead to sleeping problems and lack of sleep can intensify the pain perception. Most previous studies relates to adults, but adolescents may also suffer from CMP, and there is a need for more knowledge regarding the relationships between CMP and sleeping problems, stress, anxiety, depression, and health status.
Objectives To study background factors associated to CMP in first year Swedish high school students.
Methods First year Swedish high school students (n=296) were invited to complete questionnaires on chronic pain (mannequin with 18 body regions), sleeping problems (Uppsala Sleep Inventory, four items scored from 1–5), stress (ELO questions, scored from 1–5), anxiety and depression (Hospital Anxiety and Depression Scale, scored from 0–21), health status (EQ-5D, scored from 0 to 1, worst to best) and physical activity (International Physical Activity Questionnaire, categorised into low, moderate and high levels). Stress and sleeping items were dichotomized into 1–3 points (best) vs 4–5 points (worst). Individuals scoring at least severe problems (4 points) at one or more sleeping items were classified as having severe sleeping problems. HADS were categorised as non-cases (0–7), possible7–10 and probable cases (11–21 points). Students were grouped as having CMP (pain present in ≥3 regions) or not (no chronic pain or chronic pain in 1–2 regions). Multiple logistic regression analyses (adjusted for sex) with CMP as dependent variable were performed in SPSS, version 24.
Results 254 students (86% of total sample, 87 boys and 167 girls) with a mean age of 16.1 (SD 0.6) years participated in the study. CMP was present in 25 (9.8%) students with no differences between boys and girls (8.0% vs 10.8%; p=0.488). Having CMP was associated with reporting severe sleeping problems (OR 2.49, 95% CI: 1.06 to 5.81, p=0.035) with initiating sleep, maintaining sleep, early morning awakenings and/or not feeling restored after sleep in comparison to the other students. Students with CMP were more likely to be categorised as probable cases for anxiety (OR 3.06, 95% CI: 1.09 to 8.61, p=0.034), but there were no associations for possible cases for anxiety (OR 1.15, 95% CI: 0.38 to 3.51, p=0.800), possible cases (OR 2.03, 95% CI: 0.63 to 6.54), or probable cases for depression (OR 3.35, 95% CI: 0.33 to 33.83). There was a nearly significant association between stress and belonging to the CMP group (OR 2.31, 95% CI: 0.97 to 5.53, p=0.059). A higher self-reported health status was associated to a lower likelihood for CMP (OR 0.04, 95% CI: 0.01 to 0.27, p=0.001). Distribution of physical activity levels of low, moderate and high was not significantly associated to having CMP in comparison with not having it.
Conclusions One in ten high school students fulfilled criteria for having chronic multisite musculoskeletal pain. CMP was associated to sleeping problems, anxiety, and a worse health status. The results from this study may be used by school health-care professionals in their preventive work to promote student’s health.
Disclosure of Interest None declared
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