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01.12.2018 | Research article | Ausgabe 1/2018 Open Access

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 1/2018

Insomnia and risk of chronic musculoskeletal complaints: longitudinal data from the HUNT study, Norway

BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders > Ausgabe 1/2018
B. L. Uhlig, T. Sand, T. I. Nilsen, P. J. Mork, K. Hagen



The aim of this study was to investigate the prospective association between insomnia and risk of chronic musculoskeletal complaints (CMSC) and chronic widespread musculoskeletal complaints (CWMSC). A second aim was to evaluate the association between insomnia and number of body regions with CMSC at follow-up.


We used data from the second (HUNT2, 1995–1997) and third (HUNT3, 2006–2008) wave of the Nord-Trøndelag Health Study (the HUNT Study). The population-at-risk included 13,429 people aged 20–70 years who reported no CMSC at baseline in HUNT2 and who answered the questionnaires on insomnia in HUNT2 and CMSC in HUNT3. Insomnia was defined according to the 4th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV) with minor modification, whereas CMSC was assessed for nine different body regions. CWMSC was defined according to the 1990 criteria by the American College of Rheumatology. We used Poisson regression to estimate adjusted risk ratios (RRs) for CMSC and CWMSC at 11 years follow-up. Precision of the estimates was assessed by a 95% confidence interval (CIs).


Insomnia at baseline was associated with increased risk of any CMSC (RR 1.16, 95% CI 1.03–1.32) and CWMSC (RR 1.58, 95% CI 1.26–1.98) at follow-up. RR for CMSC for specific body regions ranged from 1.34 (95% CI 1.05–1.73) for the knees and 1.34 (1.10–1.63) for the neck to 1.60 (95% CI 1.19–2.14) for the ankles/ft. Further, insomnia was associated with increased risk of CMSC in 3–4 regions (RR 1.36, 95% CI 1.05–1.77), and 5 or more regions (RR 1.93, 95% CI 1.40–2.66), but not 1–2 regions (RR 0.99, 95% CI 0.80–1.24).


Insomnia is associated with increased risk of CMSC, CWMSC, and CMSC located in 3 or more body regions.
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