Prevalence and consequences of spinal pain among people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes mellitus in Denmark

Behnam Liaghat*, Lars Folkestad, Søren T. Skou, Bart Koes, Amalie Frost Stammerjohan, Jan Hartvigsen

*Corresponding author for this work

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To describe 1-week and 1-year prevalence of spinal pain and its consequences in relation to leisure activity, work-life, and care-seeking in people with type 1 and 2 diabetes mellitus (DM). 


A cross-sectional survey including adults diagnosed with DM from two Danish secondary care centres. Using the Standardised Nordic Questionnaire, spinal pain prevalence (cervical, thoracic, lumbar) and its consequences were evaluated (proportions, 95% confidence intervals) and compared to the general population. 


Among 3767 people, 1-week and 1-year spinal pain prevalence were 11.6–32.4 and 18.5–49.6%, respectively, highest for lumbar pain (24.6–49.6%). The prevalence was similar between DM types for cervical and thoracic pain, but higher in type 2 for lumbar spine. Women had higher pain prevalence across spinal regions and DM types, while cervical and thoracic pain estimates were higher for age < 60 vs. ≥ 60. Within the past year, > 50% reported pain > 30 days, high proportions had reduced their activities (leisure time, 43.7–63.9%; work, 20.7–33.3%), 13.3–28.1% reported sick-leave > 30 days, and 44.3–48.5% had sought care due to spinal pain. 


Spinal pain is common in people with type 1 and 2 DM, resulting in considerable consequences for work/leisure activities, sick-leave, and healthcare utilisation as compared to the general population.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3744-3752
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Spine Journal
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Open access funding provided by University Library of Southern Denmark. Odense University Hospital free research fund funded the expenses related to study administration and expenses related to Statistics Denmark. The funder was not involved in study design; in the collection, analysis and interpretation of data; in the writing of the report; and in the decision to submit the article for publication. Dr Skou is currently funded by a grant from Region Zealand (Exercise First) and two grants from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Program, one from the European Research Council (MOBILIZE, grant agreement No 801790) and the other under grant agreement No 945377 (ESCAPE). All outside the submitted study. Dr Hartvigsen has received multiple grants for research from Danish and international grant agencies, including the European Union, Danish Ministry of Science and Education, Danish regions, National Institutes of Health (USA), and from charities, including the European Center for Chiropractic Research Excellence, and the IMK Foundation. All outside the submitted study.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023, The Author(s).


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