Being Overweight, Tall Correlated with Low Back Pain

Being overweight, obese, or tall increases one's likelihood of experiencing low back pain, a new study finds.

Being overweight, obese, or tall increases one’s likelihood of experiencing low back pain, a new study finds. The retrospective, cross-sectional prevalence study, which examined Israeli military recruits undergoing pre-induction medical exams, was presented last week at the annual meeting of the North American Spine Society in Chicago.

The study included 470,125 male recruits and 359,666 female recruits who entered the military between 1998 and 2009. Each recruit who received a grade on the military functional limitation low back category was included in the study, and participants were divided into two groups: (A) those who received grades of 1-3, which include subjective complaints of pain only and (B) those who received grades of 4-7, which include subjective pain complaints and objective findings on imaging studies or physical examination.

Prevalence of low back complaints for males was 5.2% for those without objective findings (group A) and 0.2% for those with objective findings (group B). For females, the prevalence was 2.7% for group A and 0.2% for group B. Both elevated body mass index and height correlated positively with low back pain complaints. The odds ratio for low back pain complaints in obese and overweight males was 1.163 and 1.097, respectively; for obese and overweight females, it was 1.211 and 1.174. The odds ratio for low back pain in the tallest group compared with the shortest group was 1.428 for males and 1.224 for females.

“Further studies are still required to directly connect between our epidemiological findings to the processes leading to the development of low back pain,” write the researchers.

Source:

Large Study Finds Correlation Between Height, BMI and LBP Press Release (pdf)