Low back pain (LBP) is a common problem in adults. As it turns out, adults are more likely to have back problems if they had back pain earlier in life. One in three teenagers (about 30 percent) will have back pain. LBP occurs again later for 88 percent of those teens. Verifying these figures and finding ways to prevent back pain are the goals of this study.
The researchers asked 1,552 university students questions about LBP and what caused it. They found that about 41 percent of the students had LBP in the last month. Age does seem to be a factor, meaning that the rate of back pain increases with age. Women have more back pain than men, but in this study, LBP wasn't linked to gender as a risk factor.
The two major factors in LBP for these college-aged students were: trauma, such as slipping on ice or falling down stairs; and giving up regular exercise. In this study the influence of sports and activities went both ways. Quitting sports participation was linked to LBP, and LBP was a reason to stop playing.
The authors conclude that the rate of LBP is increasing as time goes by. Now is the time to find ways to slow down this trend. Preventing falls and injuries is the first step. An important key is to exercise on a regular basis. Students who go to college and stop sports or physical activities are at greatest risk for episodes of LBP.
Aysegul Çakmak, MD, et al. The Frequency and Associated Factors of Low Back Pain among a Younger Population in Turkey. In Spine. July 15, 2004. Vol. 29. No. 14. Pp. 1567-1572.