Prevalence and Risk Factors for Low Back Pain in 1,355 Young Adults: A Cross-Sectional Study

Asian Spine J. 2017 Aug;11(4):610-617. doi: 10.4184/asj.2017.11.4.610. Epub 2017 Aug 7.


Study design: Cross-sectional study.

Purpose: To evaluate the prevalence and various risk factors for low back pain (LBP) in young adults in India.

Overview of literature: LBP is an emerging problem in adolescents, with an incidence that is the highest in the third decade of life worldwide. Various risk factors such as obesity, smoking, family history, stress, and exercise have been described in the literature. This study was conducted because of paucity of data in the Indian literature.

Methods: A total of 1,355 (741 males and 641 females) young Indian Administrative Service aspirants and medical postgraduate aspirants aged 18-35 years were enrolled in the study. The subjects completed a detailed, semi-structured questionnaire that gathered data regarding their sociodemographic profile and factors considered to be risk factors for LBP. Anthropometric measurements, including height and weight, were measured and body mass index was calculated.

Results: Most subjects (90.6%) were aged 20-29 years (mean, 24.49; range, 18-35 years). Results indicated that the following factors were associated with LBP in young adults: marital status, previous history of spine problems, strenuous exercise, job satisfaction, monotony, stress, daily number of studying hours, and family history of spine problems (p<0.05). However, age, sex, smoking, alcoholism, coffee intake, mode and duration of travel, diet, frequency of weightlifting, wearing heels, studying posture, and frequency and type of sports activities were not associated with LBP.

Conclusions: The study identified various modifiable and non-modifiable risk factors that precipitated LBP in young adult Indians. Identifying these risk factors at an early stage will prevent LBP progression to a chronic disease state, thereby improving an individual's quality of life and increasing productivity.

Keywords: Low back pain; Risk factors; Young adults.