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Sci Rep. 2017 Sep 14;7(1):11598. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-11762-4.

Physical activity is prospectively associated with spinal pain in children (CHAMPS Study-DK).

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Spine Centre of Southern Denmark, Hospital Lillebaelt, Middelfart, Institute of Regional Health Services Research, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.
Center of Research in Childhood Health, Department of Sports Science and Clinical Biomechanics, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.
Independent Statistical Consultant, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Department of Rehabilitation, Odense University Hospital, Institute of Clinical Research, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.
School of Psychology and Exercise Science, Murdoch University, Murdoch, Australia.
Faculty of Kinesiology, University of New Brunswick, Fredericton, Canada.
The Sports Medicine Clinic, Orthopaedic Department, Hospital of Lillebaelt and The Institute of Regional Health Service Research, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, Denmark.


Spinal pain and physical inactivity are critical public health issues. We investigated the prospective associations of physical activity intensity with spinal pain in children. Physical activity was quantified with accelerometry in a cohort of primary school students. Over 19 months, parents of primary school students reported children's spinal pain status each week via text-messaging (self-reported spinal pain). Spinal pain reports were followed-up by trained clinicians who diagnosed each child's complaint and classified the pain as non-traumatic or traumatic. Associations were examined with logistic regression modeling using robust standard errors and reported with odds ratios (OR). Children (n = 1205, 53.0% female) with mean ± SD age of 9.4 ± 1.4 years, participated in 75,180 weeks of the study. Nearly one-third (31%) of children reported spinal pain, and 14% were diagnosed with a spinal problem. Moderate intensity physical activity was protectively associated with self-reported [OR(95%CI) = 0.84(0.74, 0.95)], diagnosed [OR(95%CI) = 0.79(0.67, 0.94)] and traumatic [OR(95%CI) = 0.77(0.61, 0.96)] spinal pain. Vigorous intensity physical activity was associated with increased self-reported [OR(95%CI) = 1.13(1.00, 1.27)], diagnosed [OR(95%CI) = 1.25(1.07, 1.45)] and traumatic [OR(95%CI) = 1.28(1.05, 1.57)] spinal pain. The inclusion of age and sex covariates weakened these associations. Physical activity intensity may be a key consideration in the relationship between physical activity behavior and spinal pain in children.

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