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J Exerc Rehabil. 2018 Apr 26;14(2):168-174. doi: 10.12965/jer.1836070.035. eCollection 2018 Apr.

Low back pain, obesity, and inflammatory markers: exercise as potential treatment.

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Exercise and Immunometabolism Research Group, Department of Physical Education, Faculty of Sciences and Technology, São Paulo State University, Presidente Prudente, São Paulo, Brazil.
Department of Physical Therapy, Universidade Federal de Minas Gerais (UFMG), Belo Horizonte, Brazil.
Discipline of Physiotherapy, The University of Sydney - Faculty of Health Sciences, Sydney, Australia.


Low back pain is a health issue with significant impact to patients and society. This narrative review aims to synthesize the relationship between obesity, low-grade inflammation and low back pain. It is known that a sedentary lifestyle is a risk factor for obesity and related disorders. The adipose tissue of obese people secretes a range of cytokines of character pro- and anti-inflammatory, with many molecular effects. In addition, pro-inflammatory cytokines are sensitizers of C-reactive protein (CRP), a marker of acute inflammation that can be linked to the musculoskeletal pain sensation individuals with back pain. Another inflammatory marker deserves mention, prostaglandin E2. Prostaglandin E2 is important in the process of triggering actions such as pyrexia, sensation of pain and inflammation, which are exhibited in low back pain condition. The potential for exercises and physical activity to control these mediators and act as a preventative measure for back pain are important because they work as a nonpharmacological strategy to this target audience. There are two types of exercise discussed in this review, the moderate-intensity continuous training and high-intensity interval training.


C-reactive protein; Low back pain; Obesity; Prostaglandins; Sedentary lifestyle

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CONFLICT OF INTEREST No potential conflict of interest relevant to this article was reported.

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