The following is the summary of “Association Between Hypercholesterolemia and Neck Pain in a Cross-sectional Population-based Study” published in the January 2023 issue of Spine by Ahorukomeye, et al.

Examining a sample of past events using a cross-sectional design. Chronic neck pain is often caused by degenerative changes. Ischemia of the lumbar disks and the subsequent degenerative changes are linked to atherosclerosis of the segmental arteries, as proposed by the vascular hypothesis of disk disease. Atherosclerotic risk factors have been linked to degenerative lumbar disease in the past. Degeneration of the cervical discs may also be influenced by atherosclerosis. Atherosclerosis, especially in the cervical spine’s tiny arteries, is linked to the onset of cardiovascular disease. Morbidity from cardiovascular disease is increased by hypercholesterolemia to a great extent. The purpose of this research is to determine if there is a link between high cholesterol and neck pain.

The data from the standard questionnaire’s questions about neck pain were analyzed. Logistic regression analysis and odds ratio calculations took into account factors such as age, gender, level of education, and mental health status. The 2018 Medicare Expenditure Panel Survey (MEPS) polled 30,461 individuals. There were 1049 people (3.4% of the total) who reported experiencing neck pain as a result of a diagnosis of cervical diseases. Respondents had a mean age of 62.6 ±16.1. Overall, 21.1% of people reported experiencing neck pain. The prevalence of neck pain did not differ significantly by age, sex, degree of education, or occupation (all P values > 0.05). In a statistically significant way (P>0.05), white ethnicity and lower total family income were both associated with higher rates of neck pain. The prevalence of neck pain was similarly significantly higher among current daily smokers (P>0.05). 

After accounting for confounding factors, those with hypercholesterolemia had a statistically significant increase in the likelihood of experiencing neck pain (adjusted odds ratio=1.54, 95% CI: 1.08-2.22, P=0.018). After adjusting for potential variables, subjects with hypercholesterolemia were 54% more likely to report neck pain. This provides further evidence that hypercholesterolemia contributes to cervical spine deterioration. Preventing and effectively treating high cholesterol may, therefore, slow the onset and severity of degenerative cervical disk degeneration and associated neck pain.