Author(s): Grimmer K, Nyland L, Milanese S
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Abstract BACKGROUND AND PURPOSE: Adolescent spinal pain is a worldwide concern, with few longitudinal studies to validate concerns that an increasing number of adolescents report pain with age. The aim of the present study was to track reports of low back pain (LBP) in adolescents each year over a five-year period (between the ages of 13 and 17 years). METHOD: A longitudinal, observational, repeated-measures study, commencing in 1999. We followed a group of South Australian students throughout five years of high schooling, reporting on prevalence of recent low back pain each year. RESULTS: In 1999, data were collected from 434 13-year-olds (82.5\% eligible students). In the subsequent four years, the response rate from the 1999 sample was, respectively, 72.2\%, 69.1\%, 56.2\% and 40.1\%. A significant increasing prevalence of recent LBP was reported for girls and boys. The odds of girls reporting recent LBP in the final study year (fifth year) compared with the first year was 4.4 (95\% CI 1.9-10.1),for boys 1.6 (95\% CI 0.7-3.7). New cases of girls' recent LBP decreased consistently over the study (90\% in 2000, 46.1\% in 2001, 42.1\% in 2002 and 33\% in 2003). New boys' cases decreased in the second and third study years (85\% in 2000, 45\% in 2001) then increased (45.8\% in 2002, 63.6\% in 2003), suggesting less established patterns of occurrence. CONCLUSIONS: New cases of LBP reflected a decreasing percentage of total LBP reports over each study year for girls (suggesting increasing consistency of LBP occurrence with age). A different pattern was observed for boys, with a reversal of the downward trend after age 15 years, showing an increased percentage of LBP reports that reflected new cases in the final two study years.
This article was published in Physiother Res Int
and referenced in Journal of Novel Physiotherapies