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Arthritis Res Ther. 2019 Jul 5;21(1):165. doi: 10.1186/s13075-019-1953-4.

High baseline fat mass, but not lean tissue mass, is associated with high intensity low back pain and disability in community-based adults.

Author information

1
Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, 553 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, Victoria, 3004, Australia.
2
Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, 553 St Kilda Rd, Melbourne, Victoria, 3004, Australia. donna.urquhart@monash.edu.

Abstract

OBJECTIVES:

Low back pain is the largest contributor to disability worldwide. The role of body composition as a risk factor for back pain remains unclear. Our aim was to examine the relationship between fat mass and fat distribution on back pain intensity and disability using validated tools over 3 years.

METHODS:

Participants (aged 25-60 years) were assessed at baseline using dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry (DXA) to measure body composition. All participants completed the Chronic Pain Grade Scale at baseline and 3-year follow-up. Of the 150 participants, 123 (82%) completed the follow-up.

RESULTS:

Higher baseline body mass index (BMI) and fat mass (total, trunk, upper limb, lower limb, android, and gynoid) were all associated with high intensity back pain at either baseline and/or follow-up (total fat mass: multivariable OR 1.05, 95% CI 1.01-1.09, p < 0.001). There were similar findings for all fat mass measures and high levels of back disability. A higher android to gynoid ratio was associated with high intensity back pain (multivariable OR 1.04, 95% CI 1.01-1.08, p = 0.009). There were no associations between lean mass and back pain.

CONCLUSIONS:

This cohort study provides evidence for the important role of fat mass, specifically android fat relative to gynoid fat, on back pain and disability.

KEYWORDS:

Android; Body composition; Fat mass; Lean tissue mass; Low back pain

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