Active or passive journeys and low back pain in adolescents

Department of Public Health and Primary Health Care, University of Bergen, Norway.
European Spine Journal (Impact Factor: 2.07). 01/2004; 12(6):581-8. DOI: 10.1007/s00586-003-0557-4
Source: PubMed


The objective of this cross-sectional study was to study associations between low back pain (LBP) and modes of transport to school and leisure activities among adolescents. The study population included all adolescents in eighth and ninth grade in two geographic areas in eastern Norway. Eighty-eight adolescents participated (mean age 14.7 years), making the response rate 84%. Data concerning active (walking/bicycling) and passive (bus/car) journeys were obtained from lists and maps from local authorities, and from the pupils, using a questionnaire that also included LBP, activities and wellbeing. Distance walked/bicycled to school was slightly shorter among those reporting LBP in bivariate analyses. Walking/bicycling more than 8 km weekly to regular activities was inversely associated with LBP in multivariate analysis (OR 0.3; 95% confidence interval 0.1-1.0). No associations were found between passive journeys and LBP. The results raise the question for future research of whether lack of active transport may be one cause behind the increase in juvenile LBP.

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    • "In addition, the method of transport to school (either actively walking and cycling or passively going by car or bus) may also contribute to back and neck pain. Previous studies have found that students who actively walked to and from school reported lower rates of low back pain than students who were passively transported to school (Balague et al 1995, Sjolie 2003, Szpalski et al 2002). However this finding has been contradicted by Siambanes et al (2004) and Viry et al (1999) who found that an active journey to school was associated with a higher prevalence of back pain. "
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