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J Back Musculoskelet Rehabil. 2017;30(3):625-633. doi: 10.3233/BMR-160544.

Relationship between spinal morphology and function and adolescent non-specific back pain: A cross-sectional study.

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China Institute of Sport Science, Beijing, China.
National Institute of Education Sciences, Beijing, China.
Guangxi College of Sports and Physical Education, Guangxi, China.



Non-specific back pain has become a public health problem affecting adolescent health.


To examine the relationships between abnormalities in spinal morphology and non-specific back pain among adolescents.


Cross-sectional study.


Junior and senior high schools.


Participants were screened using a questionnaire regarding back pain. Students in the pain group (n= 273, 121 boys and 152 girls) reported experiencing upper and/or lower back pain within the previous month, and those who did not report pain were assigned to the group without pain (n= 127, 63 boys and 64 girls). Participants who had experienced acute upper and/or lower back injuries within the previous month or received a definitive diagnose of disease were excluded.


The SpinalMouseĀ® was used to measure the thoracic kyphosis angle (TKA), lumbar lordosis angle (LLA), sacrum/hip angle (SA), and incline angle (INA) in both the standing position and sitting position. The SpinalMouseĀ® also was used to measure the sacral, thoracic, and lumbar range of motion (ROM) in the fully flexed position and fully extended position in the sagittal plane. The thoracic and lumbar ROM in left/right lateral flexion was recorded. The Matthiass test was used to assess changes in the measured angles upon loading.


Among junior high school students, 47.0% of boys and 53% of girls had an abnormal TKA. Among senior high school students, 52.6% of boys and 46.99% of girls had an abnormal TKA. The incidence of LLA abnormality was significantly higher among junior high boys than girls (p< 0.05), as was the incidence of hypolordosis (p< 0.05). Significantly fewer senior high boys than girls had a normal LLA value (p< 0.05). An excessive TKA (p< 0.05, odds ratio = 1.236) and limited lumbar ROM (p< 0.01, odds ratio = 0.975) were correlated with back pain in adolescents.


The incidences of TKA and LLA abnormality are high among Chinese adolescents, and an excessive TKA and insufficient total lumbar ROM may be risk factors for non-specific back pain in adolescents.


Adolescence; SpinalMouse; lumbar lordosis angle; non-specific back pain; spinal function; spinal morphology; thoracic kyphosis angle

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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