Global Postural Alignment Parameters Tied to Spinal Pain

Global alignment, but not local spinopelvic features, linked to outcome measures of spinal pain

THURSDAY, Dec. 1 (HealthDay News) -- Global alignment parameters, but not local spinopelvic features, are associated with low back, neck, and thoracic spine pain among adolescents before the age of attainment of peak height velocity (PHV), according to a study published online Nov. 19 in Spine.

Mieke Dolphens, P.T., from Ghent University in Belgium, and colleagues investigated common variations in the sagittal standing alignment among adolescents in the same phase of growth, and assessed the correlation between habitual standing posture and measures of spinal pain. Participants included 639 boys (mean age, 12.6 years) and 557 girls (mean age, 10.6 years), who were predicted to be 1.2 years pre-PHV. Using post-hoc analyses of digital images and direct body measurements, global alignment and local spinopelvic characteristics were assessed as part of the postural examination. A questionnaire was used to assess the spinal pain experience.

The investigators found that there was wide interindividual variation in sagittal posture characteristics. Global alignment parameters correlated with outcome measures of low back pain (lifetime prevalence), neck pain (lifetime prevalence, one-month prevalence, and doctor visit), and thoracic spine pain (doctor visit), in logistic regression analyses. Local spinopelvic parameters were not identified as factors which correlated with measures of spinal pain.

"The orientation of gross body segments with respect to the gravity line appear superior to local spinopelvic features in terms of clinical importance, at least in the current pre-PHV cohort," the authors write.

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