Fat Mass and Fat Distribution Are Associated with Low Back Pain Intensity and Disability

Hussain SM et al. Fat Mass and Fat Distribution Are Associated with Low Back Pain Intensity and Disability: results from a cohort study. Arthritis Research & Therapy. 2017

  • Obesity and overweight are also associated with many msk diseases including LBP. Both a systematic review and meta-analysis of smaller cohort studies including over 25,000 participants showed that both overweight and obesity increased the risk of LBP. However, no studies in the systematic review or meta-analysis examined fat mass or distribution. 
  • The aim of this study was to examine the relationship b/w gender-specific body composition and LBP intensity and disability longitudinally in a national population-based cohort of men and women.
  • Study participants came out the the Australian Diabetes Obesity and Lifestyle study of 11,247 ppl. 5,058 met the study criteria and responded to questionnaires so were included in this study. 
  • Demographic and lifestyle data, including date of birth, gender, education, smoking history, and physical activity (minutes per week) were collected. The SF-36 was used to determine physical and mental health scores and bodily pain. The socio-economic indexes for areas was also used to adjust for differences in socioeconomic status
  • The prevalence of low-intensity LBP was 62%, and high intensity LBP was 20%. 73% of the participants had no disability. 16% reported low disability and 11% reported high disability.
  • Participants reporting high disability with likely to be older, less educated, current smokers, and from a lower socioeconomic position compared to those who had no LBP or disability. 
  • All obesity and body composition measures (BMI, waist circumference) were greater in those with LBP or disability compared to those without symptoms. 
  • The overall results from this large prospective population-based cohort study indicate that obesity measures (BMI, waist circumference) percent body fat and fat mass were all positively associated with LBP intensity and disability independent of fat-free mass. 
  • These findings are consistent with previous recently published systematic reviews and meta-analysis and strengthens the evidence for the relationship between obesity and lbp intensity and disability.