Obesity and recovery from low back pain: a prospective study to investigate the effect of body mass index on recovery from low back pain.

This study describes a prospective cohort study to investigate any association between recovery from low back pain and body mass index (BMI) in patients with low back pain undergoing physiotherapy. A total of 140 patients with low back pain and no evidence of neurological deficit were divided into three groups based on their BMI. All patients underwent a back-specific physiotherapy programme for 6 or 12 weeks. Recovery parameters such as pain intensity (visual analogue scale scores) and physical impairment index scores were measured. The range of motion of the lumber spine was also recorded. These variables were compared pre- and post-treatment. Mean age of the patients was 38 years (range, 18-67 years) with 62% males and 38% females. The treatment resulted in significant improvements in all the recovery parameters (P < 0.005, paired t-test). No significant association was detected between the BMI of subjects and percentage changes in pain intensity, physical impairment index, and range of motion of the lumbar spine. A comparative analysis of the after treatment recovery parameter scores in normal (BMI or= 30 kg/m(2)) patients revealed no significant differences in the mean pain intensity and mean self-experienced impairment and disability scores amongst the groups.

This study demonstrates that BMI does not influence the overall recovery from low back pain in patients undergoing physiotherapy treatment.

Mangwani J, Giles C, Mullins M, Salih T, Natali C. Obesity and recovery from low back pain: a prospective study to investigate the effect of body mass index on recovery from low back pain. Ann R Coll Surg Engl. 2010 Jan;92(1):23-6

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