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Table 1 Baseline characteristics of patients in the four neck pain subgroups

From: In a secondary care setting, differences between neck pain subgroups classified using the Quebec task force classification system were typically small – a longitudinal study

  All participants Local np Np + arm pain above elbow Np + arm pain below elbow Np + nerve root involvement P-values across subgroups significant pair-wise comparisons
n = 2,330 n = 179 n = 298 n = 501 n = 874
Females % (95%CI) 61 (59–63) 65 (58–72) 67 (62–72) 66 (62–70) 60 (57–64) p = .07
Age in years mean (SD) 49 (13) 48 (17) 48 (13) 49 (12) 49 (11) P = .70
Duration,% (95%CI)       p < .01
0-3 months 16 (15 – 18) 6 (3 – 11) 10 (7 – 14) 14 (11 – 17) 25 (22 – 28) local vs. below
3-12 months 36 (34 – 38) 41 (34 – 49) 37 (32 – 43) 36 (32 – 40) 35 (32 – 38) NRI vs. all
>12 months 48 (46 – 50) 52 (45 – 60) 53 (47 – 59) 50 (46 – 54) 41 (37 – 44)  
Previous episodes 55 (53 – 57) 44 (36 – 51) 58 (52 – 63) 59 (55 – 63) 57 (54 – 61) p < .01
% (95%CI)*       local vs. all
Neck pain intensity median 6 (5 –8) 6 (5–7) 6 (5 – 8) 6 (4 – 8) 6 (5 – 8) p < .04
(IQR)       local vs. NRI
Arm pain intensity 5 (2 – 7) 0 (0 – 0) 5 (2 – 6) 6 (4 – 8) 6 (4 – 8) p < .01 *
median (IQR)       above vs. below
       above vs. NRI
Activity limitation 21 (14 – 27) 16 (12 – 22) 21 (14 – 26) 21 (14 – 27) 22 (15 – 28) p < .01
median (IQR)       local vs. all
Pain irritability 74 (72 – 75) 61 (53 – 68) 71 (66 – 76) 79 (75 – 82) 77 (74 – 79) p < .01
% (95%CI)       local vs. all
       above vs. below
Whiplash % (95%CI) 20 (19 – 22) 22 (16 – 30) 22 (17 – 29) 22 (17 – 27) 17 (14 – 19) P = .07
Depression % (95%CI) 16 (15 – 18) 13 (9 – 19) 18 (14 – 23) 14 (11 – 17) 17 (15 – 20) P = .20
Fear of movement 5 (1 – 7) 3 (1 – 6) 5 (2 – 7) 5 (1 – 7) 5 (2 – 7) p < .01
median (IQR)       local vs. all
General health mean (SD) 50 (24) 56 (23) 51 (23) 48 (25) 48 (24) p < .01 local vs. all
Any sick leave in last 3 months# % (95%CI) 49 (47 – 51) 44 (36 – 53) 44 (38 – 51) 49 (44 – 54) 52 (48 – 56) P = .10
Amount of repetitive work load median (IQR) 3 (0 – 7) 2 (0 – 5) 3 (0 – 7) 4 (1 – 7) 3 (0 – 6) P = .40
Work time with head forward median (IQR) 4 (2 – 6) 4 (2 – 6) 4 (2 – 5) 5 (2 – 7) 4 (2 – 6) P = .05
  1. CI: Confidence intervals; IQR: interquartile range; SD: standard deviation
  2. * test does not include local NP