Increased insomnia symptoms predict the onset of back pain among employed adults

Maayan Agmon, Galit Armon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Back pain is among the most prevalent pain disorders causing chronic disability among adults, and insomnia is a common co-morbidity. However, whether insomnia precedes back pain or vice versa remains unclear. The current study tested the temporal association between insomnia and back pain. Methods: A longitudinal design was used to investigate whether changes in insomnia over time predict the onset of back pain and vice versa. The study was conducted on a cohort of active healthy working adults (N = 2,131, 34% women) at three time points (T1, T2, and T3) over a period of 3.7 years (range = 2.2-5.12) years. Logistic regression analysis was used to test whether increased insomnia symptoms from T1 to T2 predicted the onset of new back pain. Ordinary least squares regression was used to test whether the existence of back pain at T2 predicted an increase in insomnia from T2 to T3. Results: The results indicated that after controlling for socioeconomic variables, self-reported health, lifestyle behaviors, and anthropometrics, a T1-T2 increase in insomnia symptoms was associated with a 1.40-fold increased risk of back pain at T3 (OR = 1.40; 95% CI = 1.10-1.71). No support was found for reverse causation; i.e., that back pain predicts subsequent increase in insomnia. Conclusions: Insomnia appears to be a risk factor in the development of back pain in healthy individuals. However, no evidence of reverse causation was found.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere103591
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2014

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


Dive into the research topics of 'Increased insomnia symptoms predict the onset of back pain among employed adults'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this