Interestingly, back injury is reported second to psychiatric injury as a leading cause of military personnel non-return to duty.
Military personnel evacuated out of Iraq and Afghanistan because of back pain are unlikely to return to the line of duty regardless of the treatment they receive, according to research led by a Johns Hopkins pain management specialist.
In a study published in the Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers found that just 13 percent of service members who left their units with back pain as their primary diagnosis eventually returned to duty in the field. Women, officers, those deployed in Afghanistan and those with previous back pain had better outcomes, but only marginally. Aside from combat injuries sustained during battle, the return-to-duty rate for spinal pain and other musculoskeletal disorders is lower than for any other disease or non-combat injury category except for psychiatric illness, the researchers said.
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