Paper| Volume 26, ISSUE 5, P335-336, June 1995

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The perceived relationship between back symptoms and preceding injury

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      A questionnaire was used to gather information regarding the prevalence of minor back symptoms related to performing everyday tasks, including sitting, fifting, etc. in a population of hospital employees. We studied 175 subjects, of whom 111 had not suffered a back injury. Of this group, 68 (61.3 per cent) had suffered back discomfort during or after performing everyday tasks. Sixty-four reported a previous injury to their back, and of these 55 (85.9 per cent) described back discomfort during or after performing everyday tasks. Of the symptomatic cases, 46 (83.3 per cent) maintained that they had no back symptoms prior to their injury, and attributed all of their back symptoms to the injury. The X2 test was used to test the null hypothesis that the group attributing their symptoms to injury was derived from the same population as the group who had not suffered any definite injury, and yet had back symptoms. This hypothesis was rejected (P < 0.001), indicating that there was a significant difference between these two groups. We conclude that individuals who sustain a back injury sometimes do not recall that they suffered symptoms prior to their injury. This may be of medico-legal importance in cases where compensation is being sought.
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