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Open Access Research article

Subjective health complaints in patients with lumbar radicular pain and disc herniation are associated with a sex - OPRM1 A118G polymorphism interaction: a prospective 1-year observational study

Eivind Hasvik12*, Elina Iordanova Schistad3, Lars Grøvle4, Anne Julsrud Haugen4, Cecilie Røe3 and Johannes Gjerstad135

Author Affiliations

1 National Institute of Occupational Health, Oslo, Norway

2 Department of Physiotherapy, Østfold Hospital Trust, Fredrikstad, Norway

3 Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, Oslo University Hospital, Ullevål, Norway

4 Department of Rheumatology, Østfold Hospital Trust, Fredrikstad, Norway

5 Department of Biosciences, University of Oslo, Oslo, Norway

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BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 2014, 15:161  doi:10.1186/1471-2474-15-161

Published: 18 May 2014



Earlier observations show that development of persistent pain may be associated with the genetic variability in the gene encoding for the μ-opioid receptor 1, the OPRM1 A118G (rs1799971). The aim of this study was to investigate the association between OPRM1 genotype and subjective health complaints in patients with radicular pain and disc herniation.


A prospective, 1-year observational study was conducted at a hospital back clinic, including 118 Caucasian patients with lumbar radicular pain and MRI confirmed disc herniation. Single nucleotide polymorphism genotyping regarding the OPRM1 A118G was performed. The data of individuals with AA versus AG or GG were analysed separately by linear mixed models. The Subjective Health Complaints Inventory (0-81) including 27 common complaints experienced the previous month on a scale from not at all (0) to severe (3) was used as outcome. Pain, prior duration of leg pain, age, smoking status, and lumbar disc surgery were considered as covariates.


In total 23 of 118 patients were carriers of the OPRM1 G-allele. All patients except female carriers of the G-allele reported a decrease in pain from baseline to 1 year. Female carriers of the G-allele reported significantly higher subjective health complaints score during the study time span than male carriers of the G-allele when controlling for pain and pain duration.


The present data indicate that, when controlling for pain intensity and duration, subjective health complaints are associated with a sex - OPRM1 A118G polymorphism interaction in patients with radicular pain.

μ-opioid receptor 1; Sex; Subjective health complaints; Sciatica; Radiculopathy; OPRM1 A118G; rs1799971