Relationship between Northwick Park neck pain questionnaire and cervical spine MR imaging findings

Estanislao Arana, Luis Martí-Bonmatí, Ruben Montijano, Daniel Bautista, Enrique Molla, Salvador Costa
European Spine Journal 2006, 15 (8): 1183-8
The study was aimed at determining the association between the self-report of pain and disability by means of Northwick neck pain questionnaire (NPQ) and cervical spine MR imaging findings. A random sample of 251 patients, 132 men and 119 women aged 43+/-13 years, submitted with neck pain were investigated. Patients with previous discitis, surgery, neoplasm or hospitalized for cervical spine trauma were excluded. All patients completed the NPQ and were studied with sagittal gradient-echo T1 and turbo spin-echo T2, axial gradient-echo T2* and heavily T2 weighted MR myelographic weighted images. MR images of the two most affected disc levels were read, offering an MR imaging score from 0 to 30. There was no statistically significant correlation between NPQ and MR imaging scores. From the NPQ items, only difficulty in sleeping and numbness were related to the MR imaging score. Disc extrusion was the only MR finding almost significantly associated with NPQ (P=0.054). Neck injury did not increase NPQ scores. In patients with neck pain, NPQ scores do not correlate with MR imaging findings. NPQ and cervical spine MR imaging show different facets of the multidimensional complex of neck pain.

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