Physical fitness, rather than self-reported physical activities, is more strongly associated with low back pain: evidence from a working population
- 548 Downloads
Physical activity is suggested to be important for low back pain (LBP) but a major problem is the limited validity of the measurement of physical activities, which is usually based on questionnaires. Physical fitness can be viewed as a more objective measurement and our question was how physical activity based on self-reports and objective measured levels of physical fitness were associated with LBP.
Materials and methods
We analyzed cross-sectional data of 1,723 police employees. Physical activity was assessed by questionnaire (SQUASH) measuring type of activity, intensity, and time spent on these activities. Physical fitness was based on muscular dynamic endurance capacity and peak oxygen uptake (VO2 peak). Severe LBP, interfering with functioning, was defined by pain ratings ≥4 on a scale of 0–10.
Higher levels of physical fitness, both muscular and aerobic, were associated with less LBP (OR: 0.54; 95% CI: 0.34–0.86, respectively, 0.59: 95%CI: 0.35–0.99). For self-reported physical activity, both a low and a high level of the total physical activity pattern were associated with an increase of LBP (OR: 1.52; 95%CI: 1.00–2.31, respectively, 1.60; 95%CI: 1.05–2.44).
These findings suggest that physical activity of an intensity that improves physical fitness may be important in the prevention of LBP.
KeywordsLow back pain Physical activity Physical fitness Lifestyle
Conflict of interest
- 6.Shephard RJ (2003) Limits to the measurement of habitual physical activity by questionnaires. Br J Sports Med 37:197–206Google Scholar
- 9.Protas EJ (1996) Aerobic exercise in the rehabilitation of individuals with chronic low back pain: a review. Crit Rev Phys Rehabil Med 8:283–295Google Scholar
- 11.Picavet HSJ, Wendel-Vos GCW (2011) Use it or lose it, but how to use? Pain Commentary (in press)Google Scholar
- 26.Wendel-Vos GCW, Schuit AJ (2002) Short questionnaire to assess health enhancing physical activity. National Institute of Public Health and the Environment, Center for Chronic Diseases Epidemiology, BilthovenGoogle Scholar
- 28.Ainsworth BE, Haskell WL, Whitt MC et al (2000) Compendium of physical activities: an update of activity codes and MET intensities. Med Sci Sports Exerc 32(suppl 9):498–504Google Scholar
- 31.Suni JH (1999) Health-related fitness test battery for middle-aged adults: with emphasis on musculoskeletal and motor tests. Department of Health Sciences, University of Jyväskylä, FinlandGoogle Scholar
- 36.Rzewnicki R, Vanden Auweele Y, De Bourdeauhuij I (2003) Addressing overreporting on the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) telephone survey with a population sample. Public Health Nutr 6(3):299–305Google Scholar
- 39.Williamson A, Hoggart B (2005) Pain: a review of three commonly used pain rating scales. J Clin Nurs 14:789–804Google Scholar