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Association between body height and chronic low back pain: a follow-up in the Nord-Trondelag Health Study

15 Jun 2015

Objective

To study potential associations between body height and subsequent occurrence of chronic low back pain (LBP).

Design

Prospective cohort study.

Setting

The North-Trøndelag Health Study (HUNT). Data were obtained from a whole Norwegian county in the HUNT2 (1995–1997) and HUNT3 (2006–2008) surveys.

Participants

Altogether, 3883 women and 2662 men with LBP, and 10 059 women and 8725 men without LBP, aged 30–69 years, were included at baseline and reported after 11 years whether they suffered from LBP.

Main outcome measure

Chronic LBP, defined as pain persisting for 3 months during the previous year.

Results

Associations between body height and risk and recurrence of LBP were evaluated by generalised linear modelling. Potential confounders, such as BMI, age, education, employment, physical activity, smoking, blood pressure and lipid levels were adjusted for. In women with no LBP at baseline and body height ≥170 cm, a higher risk of LBP was demonstrated after adjustment for other risk factors (relative risk 1.19, 95% CI 1.03 to 1.37; compared with height <160 cm). No relationship was established among men or among women with LBP at baseline.

Conclusions

In women without LBP, a body height ≥170 cm may predispose to chronic LBP 11 years later. This may reflect mechanical issues or indicate a hormonal influence.

Click here to view the full article which appeared in BMJ Open