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Physical Activity is More Important than Previous Back Pain Issues Regarding the Future

Methods.
Participants answered questions about physical activity and low back pain, and performed physical fitness tests at the age of 16, 34, and 52 years. The fitness test battery included tests of endurance in the back and abdominal muscles, a submaximal bicycle ergometer test to estimate maximal oxygen uptake, and measurements of hip flexion, thoracic spine flexibility, and anthropometrics. Two tests were aggregated to a physical fitness index. At the age of 52, also 2 tests of spinal control, the standing Waiter’s bow (WB) and the supine double leg lower (LL) were performed.

Physical Activity is More Important than Previous Back Pain Issues Regarding the Future

Results.
Logistic regression analyses showed that higher back muscle endurance at the age of 34 years could positively predict WB performance at 52 years and higher physical fitness at the age of 34 could positively predict LL performance at 52 years. Regarding cross-sectional relationships, an inability to perform the WB correctly was associated with lower physical fitness, flexibility and physical activity, and larger waist circumference. An inability to correctly perform the LL was associated with lower physical fitness. One-year prevalence of pain was not significantly associated with WB or LL test performance.

Conclusion.
An active life resulting in higher physical fitness is related to better spinal control in middle-aged men and women. This further strengthens the importance of physical activity throughout the life span.

Posted by Dr. Alex Wasserman