European Spine Journal

, Volume 21, Issue 7, pp 1234–1240 | Cite as

Acute low back pain in high school adolescents in Southern Brazil: prevalence and associated factors

  • Antonio Carlos Onofrio
  • Marcelo Cozzensa da SilvaEmail author
  • Marlos Rodrigues Domingues
  • Airton José Rombaldi
Original Article



The aim of this study was to investigate the prevalence of acute low back pain (ALBP) and associated factors in high school students from a Southern Brazilian city.


The study was cross-sectional and interviewed 1,233 students 13- to 19-year-olds, attending high schools. A total of 25 schools were included in the sample (15 state institutions, 7 private, 2 federal and 1 municipal). The ALBP was evaluated using two questions. The outcome was LBP in the previous 30 days.


The prevalence of ALBP was 13.7%. Non-white students, who commuted to school walking, showed a higher prevalence of ALBP. The prevalence of ALBP is relatively high.


Further studies with follow-ups to adulthood are needed to investigate whether physical cumulative loads on the lumbar spine (for example, duration/transport, school bags and inadequate school furniture) during adolescence, may influence the development of ALBP later in life.


Low back pain Adolescent’s health Cross-sectional studies Epidemiology 


Conflict of interest



  1. 1.
    Deyo RA, Mirza SK, Martin BI (2006) Back pain prevalence and visit rates: estimates from US national surveys, 2002. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 31:2724–2727Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Hestbaek L, Iachine IA, Leboeuf-Yde C, Kyvik KO, Manniche C (2004) Heredity of low back pain in a young population: a classical twin study. Twin Res 7:16–26PubMedGoogle Scholar
  3. 3.
    Brattberg G (2004) Do pain problems in young school children persist into early adulthood? A 13-year follow-up. Eur J Pain 8:187–199PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Jeffries LJ, Milanese SF, Grimmer-Somers KA (2007) Epidemiology of adolescent spinal pain: a systematic overview of the research literature. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 32:2630–2637CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. 5.
    Duggleby T, Kumar S (1997) Epidemiology of juvenile low back pain: a review. Disabil Rehabil 19:505–512PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    Hestbaek L, Korsholm L, Leboeuf-Yde C, Kyvik KO (2008) Does socioeconomic status in adolescence predict low back pain in adulthood? A repeated cross-sectional study of 4, 771 Danish adolescentes. Eur Spine J 17:1727–1734PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. 7.
    Trevelyan FC, Legg SJ (2006) Back pain in school children—where to from here? Appl Ergon 37:45–54PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. 8.
    Hoogendoorn WE, Bongers PM, de Vet HC, Ariens GA, van Mechelen W, Bouter LM (2002) High physical work load and low job satisfaction increase the risk of sickness absence due to low back pain: results of a prospective cohort study. Occup Environ Med 59:323–328PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Dionne CE, Dunn KM, Croft PR, Nachemson AL, Buchbinder R, Walker BF et al (2008) A consensus approach toward the standardization of back pain definitions for use in prevalence studies. Spine (Phila Pa 1976) 33:95–103CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    ABEP (2009) Critério de Classificação Econômica Brasil. Accessed 14 April 2011
  11. 11.
    Bastos JP, Araujo CL, Hallal PC (2008) Prevalence of insufficient physical activity and associated factors in Brazilian adolescents. J Phys Act Health 5:777–794PubMedGoogle Scholar
  12. 12.
    Biddle SJH, Whitehead SH, O’Donovan TM, Nevill ME (2005) Correlates of participation in physical activity for adolescent girls: a systematic review of recent literature. J Phys Act Health 2:421–432Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Horta BL, Calheiros P, Pinheiro RT, Tomasi E, Costa do Amaral K (2001) Smoking among teenagers in an urban area in Southern Brazil. Rev Saude Publica 35:159–164PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. 14.
    Victora CG, Huttly SR, Fuchs SC, Olinto MT (1997) The role of conceptual frameworks in epidemiological analysis: a hierarchical approach. Int J Epidemiol 26:224–227PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. 15.
    IBGE (2006) Suplemento Trabalho Infantil–PNAD., editor. Accessed 30 March 2010
  16. 16.
    Pellisé F, Balagué F, Rajmil L, Cedraschi C, Aguirre M, Fontecha CG, Pasarin M, Ferrer M (2009) Prevalence of low back pain and its effect on health-related quality of life in adolescents. Arch Pediatr Adolesc Med 163:65–71PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. 17.
    Quinnette LA, Morris LD, Grimmer-Somers K (2007) The prevalence of low back pain in Africa: a systematic review. BMC Musculoskelet Disord 8:105CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. 18.
    Erne C, Elfering A (2011) Low back pain at school: unique risk deriving from insatisfactory grade in maths and school-type recommendation. Eur Spine J [Epub ahead of print]Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Cardon G, Balagué F (2004) Low back pain prevention’s effects in schoolchildren. What is the evidence? Eur Spine J 13:663–679PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. 20.
    Olsen TL, Anderson RL, Dearwater SR, Kriska AM, Cauley JA, Aaron DJ, LaPort RE (1992) The epidemiology of low back pain in an adolescent population. Am J Public Health 82:606–608PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. 21.
    Sjolie AN, Thuen F (2002) School journeys and leisure activities in rural and urban adolescents in Norway. Health Promot Int 17:21–30PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. 22.
    Burton AK, Balagué F, Cardon G, Eriksen HR, Henrotin Y, Lahad A, Leclerc A, Müller G, Van Der Beek AJ (2006) Chapter 2. European guidelines for prevention in low back pain: November 2004. Eur Spine J Suppl 2:S136–S168CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. 23.
    Siambanes D, Martinez JW, Butler EW, Haider T (2004) Influence of school backpacks on adolescent back pain. J Pediatr Orthop 24:211–217PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. 24.
    Viry P, Creveuil C, Marcelli C (1999) Nonspecific back pain in children. A search for associated factors in 14-year-old schoolchildren. Rev Rhum Engl Ed 66:381–388PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. 25.
    Skoffer B, Foldspang A (2008) Physical activity and low-back pain in schoolchildren. Eur Spine J 17:373–379PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. 26.
    Sato T, Ito T, Hirano T, Morita O, Kikuchi R, Endo N, Tanabe N (2011) Low back pain in childhood and adolescence: assessment of sports activities. Eur Spine J 20:94–99PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. 27.
    Szpalski M, Gunzburg R, Balagué F, Nordin M, Melot C (2002) A 2-year prospective longitudinal study on low back pain in primary school children. Eur Spine J 11:459–464PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. 28.
    Balagué F, Dudler J, Nordin M (2003) Low-back pain in children. Lancet 361:1403–1404PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Antonio Carlos Onofrio
    • 1
  • Marcelo Cozzensa da Silva
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  • Marlos Rodrigues Domingues
    • 1
    • 2
  • Airton José Rombaldi
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Post graduate program in Physical EducationFederal University of Pelotas, Rua Luiz de CamõesPelotasBrazil
  2. 2.Physical Activity Epidemiology Research GroupPelotasBrazil

Personalised recommendations