Physical activity and low-back pain in schoolchildren.

Skoffer B, Foldspang A

The objective of this study was to identify the types of physical activity associated with the decreased occurrence of low-back pain (LBP) in schoolchildren. A total of 546, 15- to 16-year-old schoolchildren filled a questionnaire on current physical activities and LBP occurrence and severity. More than half of the children reported pain or discomfort in the low-back region during the preceding 3 months, and 1/4 experienced a decreased functioning or need of care because of LBP. LBP correlated with physical inactivity, e.g. time spent on homework and hours watching TV or video, and with a series of sports activities, e.g. jogging, handball playing and gymnastics. Among sports activities, only swimming and the number of hours per week participating in soccer were associated with a decreased LBP prevalence. With the exception of swimming and soccer, the types of sport reported by this schoolchild population do not offer themselves for consideration as tools for LBP prevention. Based on the associations found with indicators of physical inactivity, attempts to motivate the children to increase their general physical activity level should be considered for trial.

This study suggests that physical inactivity may be a cause of low back pain in school children.

European Spine Journal, 2008, 17(3),373-9

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