Journal of Occupational Rehabilitation

, Volume 23, Issue 4, pp 547–556 | Cite as

The Association between Workers’ Compensation Claims Involving Neck Pain and Future Health Care Utilization: A Population-based Cohort Study

  • Pierre Côté
  • Xiaoqing Yang
  • Vicki Kristman
  • Sheilah Hogg-Johnson
  • Dwayne Van Eerd
  • Mana Rezai
  • Marjan Vidmar


Purpose To describe the health care utilization of injured workers who made a workers’ compensation claim for neck pain. Methods. We conducted a cohort study of injured workers who made an incident claim involving neck pain to the Ontario Workplace Safety and Insurance Board between 1997 and 1998. We linked their workers’ compensation and Ontario Health Insurance Plan files to collect all health care services accrued during the year prior to and 2 years after the claim was initiated. We report the 7 day simple moving average of health care services per 1,000 claimants per day. We stratified our analysis by age, sex, the pre-claim level of health care utilization, diagnostic category and health care specialty. Results 58.1 % of claimants were males and 35.1 % were between the ages of 35 and 44 years. The cumulative rate of health care utilization was stable (mean = 60.80 services/1,000 claimants/day; 95 % CI: 59.7–62.0) throughout the year prior to the claim. However, it peaked during the first 4 days following the onset of the claim (mean = 473.3 services/1,000 claimants/day) and remained on average 311 % higher than baseline during the first month post-claim. On average in our sample, the health care utilization remained 11 % higher in the second year after the claim compared to the pre-claim level. This sustained increase was attributable to 6 % of claimants. Conclusions We report a long-term increase in the average number of health care services utilized by injured workers who make a workers’ compensation claim involving neck pain. This increase was attributable to a minority of claimants. The health reasons for this increase deserve further investigation.


Disability Epidemiology Neck pain Rehabilitation Musculoskeletal Work 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Pierre Côté
    • 1
    • 2
  • Xiaoqing Yang
    • 3
  • Vicki Kristman
    • 4
    • 5
    • 6
    • 7
  • Sheilah Hogg-Johnson
    • 6
    • 7
  • Dwayne Van Eerd
    • 6
    • 8
  • Mana Rezai
    • 7
    • 9
  • Marjan Vidmar
    • 10
  1. 1.Faculty of Health SciencesUniversity of Ontario Institute of TechnologyOshawaCanada
  2. 2.UOIT-CMCC Centre for the Study of Disability Prevention and RehabilitationTorontoCanada
  3. 3.Abbott Laboratories, Diagnostics Division R&D StatisticsAbbott ParkUSA
  4. 4.Department of Health SciencesLakehead UniversityThunder BayCanada
  5. 5.Division of Human Sciences, Northern Ontario School of MedicineLakehead UniversityThunder BayCanada
  6. 6.Institute for Work & HealthTorontoCanada
  7. 7.Dalla Lana School of Public HealthUniversity of TorontoTorontoCanada
  8. 8.School of Public Health and Health SystemsUniversity of WaterlooWaterlooCanada
  9. 9.Toronto Western Research InstituteUniversity Health NetworkTorontoCanada
  10. 10.Toronto Health Economics and Technology Assessment (THETA) CollaborativeTorontoCanada

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