Background: Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis is the most common spinal deformity occurring in adolescents and its established prevalence varies from 2 to 3%. Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis has been identified as a potential risk factor for the development of low back pain in adolescents. The purpose of this study was to systematically review studies of the prevalence of low back pain in adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis in order to establish the quality of the evidence and determine whether the prevalence estimates could be statistically pooled.
Methods: Systematic electronic searches were undertaken in PubMed, CINAHL, and CENTRAL without any restrictions. Studies were eligible for inclusion if they reported the prevalence of low back pain in adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis. Studies were excluded if they detailed the prevalence of pain in post-surgical subjects or were published in languages other than English or French. Data were reported qualitatively, since there was insufficient evidence for statistical pooling.
Results: The electronic search strategies yielded 1811 unique studies. Only two studies fulfilled the eligibility criteria. The prevalence of low back pain in adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis ranged from 34.7 to 42.0%. However, these prevalence estimates should be viewed cautiously as the included studies were at high risk of bias.
Conclusion: The results of this systematic review indicate that adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis frequently experience low back pain. However, there was insufficient evidence to confidently estimate low back pain prevalence in adolescents with idiopathic scoliosis and further studies are needed in this area.
Keywords: Adolescent idiopathic scoliosis; Low back pain; Prevalence.