Objective: To explore the incidence of self-reported neck or shoulder pain (NSP) and lower back pain (LBP) among Chinese adolescents in Shanghai and identify the influencing factors for the incidences of NSP and LBP.
Methods: A total of 3 600 students were selected from 30 high schools randomly chosen from 237 regular full-time high schools registered in Shanghai. From each school, 40 students were selected from each of the tenth, eleventh and twelfth grades for a total of 120 students per school. The questionnaire involved questions pertaining to demographic profiles, learning environment and exercise habits of each student. And it also contained questions regarding the amount of weight carried by each student while commuting to and from school, and it was also used to collect specific information related to the occurrence of NSP and LBP. Logistic regression was performed to analyze the potential risk factors for NSP and LBP.
Results: Among 3 600 questionnaires, a total of 2 842 valid ones were returned. The results revealed that the incidence of NSP and LBP in the Chinese adolescent population was 41.1% and 32.8% respectively. Both NSP and LBP were more common in girls than in boys, and 6.3% students reported at least one NSP- or LBP-induced absence from school. A relatively large portion of Chinese adolescents reported experiencing problems such as sedentary behavior (26.7% of the students continued to sit for more than 3 hours after school), a lack of exercise (29.3% exercised less than once each week and 38.2% of students reported that their exercise duration was less than half an hour each time) and overweight backpacks (53.0% complained that their backpack was too heavy). Multivariate logistic regression analysis revealed that gender, grade, physical activity and learning environment were all significantly correlated with the occurrences of NSP and LBP.
Conclusion: The incidences of NSP and LBP are relatively high among adolescents in Shanghai. And several factors, including sedentary behavior, personal exercise habits and backpack weight, influence the occurrences of NSP and LBP in adolesents.