Spine-Related Disability Following Combat Injury


Spine-related disability for military personnel injured in combat is not known. The goal of this study was to characterize spine-related disability in a cohort of soldiers wounded in recent military operations. The authors reviewed the U.S. Army Physical Evaluation Board database medical discharge records of 450 wounded soldiers for long-term disability causing a medical discharge from active duty service. Fourteen percent of the cohort had at least one spine-related disability resulting in medical discharge from the military. For the 54 unfitting conditions attributed to back pain, 33% had no precipitating injury. Eighteen soldiers had a spinal cord injury, 10 of which were complete. The average percent disability for back pain was 11%, and the average disability for a spinal cord injury was 77%. Twenty-one percent of the soldiers with spine-related disability also had disability attributed to psychological conditions. Spine-related disability is common after combat injury, though not all spine disability is directly related to an actual injury. Spinal cord injury with persistent neurological dysfunction results in higher permanent disability. Key words: back pain, combat wounds, spine disability, spine injury

SKU: JSOA-2014-23-3-F2 Categories: , Tags: , , ,

Jessica C. Rivera, MD; Edward R. Anderson, MD; Joel W. Jenne, MD; and Raymond F. Topp, MD