Back Pain Tied to Psychological Well-Being in Teens

Exercise, control of psychological profile can reduce frequency, intensity of lower back pain

THURSDAY, Jan. 6 (HealthDay News) -- Systematic physical activity and control of psychological profile should decrease low back pain (LBP) frequency and intensity in adolescents, according to a study published in the December issue of the Journal of Spinal Disorders & Techniques.

Panagiotis Korovessis, M.D., Ph.D., from the General Hospital "Agios Andreas" in Patras, Greece, and colleagues investigated the mechanical, physical, and behavioral factors, together with psychological and psychosocial factors, associated with LBP in 688 students aged 15 to 19 in five randomly selected high schools. The students completed a questionnaire addressing their daily activity, backpack carrying, and psychological and psychosocial behavior.

The researchers found that 41 percent of the participants reported LBP, and that it was less common in those with frequent activity. Girls reported LBP more often than boys and reported more severe pain than boys. Girls also reported more stress and tiredness than boys, and boys reported feeling more calm and having more frequent energy than girls. The researchers found that girls with anxiety disorders had a 3.4 times greater prevalence of musculoskeletal pain than those without an anxiety disorder. Physician consultation for LBP was more common in girls than boys. The authors concluded that LBP should be less frequent and intense with systematic physical activity and control of psychological profile.

"Clinicians working with adolescents should be aware of the association between LBP and psychological as well as psychosocial factors and interview adolescents with recurrent LBP for a possible underlying relationship in the case of nonspecific LBP," the authors write.

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