NASS 2016 outstanding paper: Which modifiable risk factors correlate with chronic back pain?

Written by Megan Wood | January 11, 2017 | Print  |

Researchers analyzed modifiable lifestyle and psychological factors associated with chronic back pain.

The co-twin control study included male twin members of the Vietnam Era Twin Registry. Of the 7,108 participants, 1,308 were monozygotic pairs and 793 were dizygotic pairs.


The study examined various lifestyle factors, including, "body mass index, smoking history, alcohol consumption, habitual physical activity and typical sleep duration." The psychological factors included depression and posttraumatic stress disorder symptoms.


The Spine Journal and North American Spine Society honored this paper with a 2016 Outstanding Paper Award. Pradeep Suri, MD; Edward J. Boyko, MD; Nicholas L. Smith, PhD; Jeffrey G. Jarvik, MD; Frances M. Williams, MD; Gail P. Jarvik, MD; and Jack Goldberg, PhD, led the research.

Here are five takeaways:


1. Researchers found all lifestyle factors associated with chronic back pain, in an individual analysis.


2. Of the lifestyle factors, only severe obesity "persisted in the within-pair analyses."


3. PTSD and depression symptoms associated with chronic back pain in the individual-level analysis and within-pair analyses.


4. In the study's abstract, researchers noted, "many associations between modifiable lifestyle risk factors and CBP are due to confounding by familial and genetic factors."


5. Researchers recommended physicians should consider severe obesity, depression and PTSD when creating an intervention plan for chronic back pain.


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