BackgroundUnderstanding predictors of pain is critical, as recent literature shows that comorbid back pain is an independent risk factor for worse functional and patient-reported outcomes (PROs) as well as increased opioid dependence after total joint arthroplasty.
Purpose/hypothesisThe purpose of this study was to evaluate whether comorbid back pain would be predictive of pain or self-reported instability symptoms at the time of stabilization surgery. We hypothesized that comorbid back pain will correlate with increased pain at the time of surgery as well as with worse scores on shoulder-related PRO measures.
Study designCross-sectional study; Level of evidence, 3.
MethodsAs part of the Multicenter Orthopaedic Outcomes Network (MOON) Shoulder Instability cohort, patients consented to participate in pre- and intraoperative data collection. Demographic characteristics, injury history, preoperative PRO scores, and radiologic and intraoperative findings were recorded for patients undergoing surgical shoulder stabilization. Patients were also asked, whether they had any back pain.
ResultsThe study cohort consisted of 1001 patients (81% male; mean age, 24.1 years). Patients with comorbid back pain (158 patients; 15.8%) were significantly older (28.1 vs 23.4 years; P < .001) and were more likely to be female (25.3% vs 17.4%; P = .02) but did not differ in terms of either preoperative imaging or intraoperative findings. Patients with self-reported back pain had significantly worse preoperative pain and shoulder-related PRO scores (American Shoulder and Elbow Surgeons score, Western Ontario Shoulder Instability Index) (P < .001), more frequent depression (22.2% vs 8.3%; P < .001), poorer mental health status (worse scores for the RAND 36-Item Health Survey Mental Component Score, Iowa Quick Screen, and Personality Assessment Screener) (P < .01), and worse preoperative expectations (P < .01).
ConclusionDespite having similar physical findings, patients with comorbid back pain had more severe preoperative pain and self-reported symptoms of instability as well as more frequent depression and lower mental health scores. The combination of disproportionate shoulder pain, comorbid back pain and mental health conditions, and inferior preoperative expectations may affect not only the patient's preoperative state but also postoperative pain control and/or postoperative outcomes.