Physical activity is prospectively associated with spinal pain in children (CHAMPS Study-DK)

Sci Rep. 2017 Sep 14;7(1):11598. doi: 10.1038/s41598-017-11762-4.


Spinal pain and physical inactivity are critical public health issues. We investigated the prospective associations of physical activity intensity with spinal pain in children. Physical activity was quantified with accelerometry in a cohort of primary school students. Over 19 months, parents of primary school students reported children's spinal pain status each week via text-messaging (self-reported spinal pain). Spinal pain reports were followed-up by trained clinicians who diagnosed each child's complaint and classified the pain as non-traumatic or traumatic. Associations were examined with logistic regression modeling using robust standard errors and reported with odds ratios (OR). Children (n = 1205, 53.0% female) with mean ± SD age of 9.4 ± 1.4 years, participated in 75,180 weeks of the study. Nearly one-third (31%) of children reported spinal pain, and 14% were diagnosed with a spinal problem. Moderate intensity physical activity was protectively associated with self-reported [OR(95%CI) = 0.84(0.74, 0.95)], diagnosed [OR(95%CI) = 0.79(0.67, 0.94)] and traumatic [OR(95%CI) = 0.77(0.61, 0.96)] spinal pain. Vigorous intensity physical activity was associated with increased self-reported [OR(95%CI) = 1.13(1.00, 1.27)], diagnosed [OR(95%CI) = 1.25(1.07, 1.45)] and traumatic [OR(95%CI) = 1.28(1.05, 1.57)] spinal pain. The inclusion of age and sex covariates weakened these associations. Physical activity intensity may be a key consideration in the relationship between physical activity behavior and spinal pain in children.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Accelerometry
  • Age Factors
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Data Analysis
  • Denmark / epidemiology
  • Exercise*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Odds Ratio
  • Pain / epidemiology*
  • Pain / etiology*
  • Prevalence
  • Prospective Studies
  • Public Health Surveillance
  • Self Report
  • Spine / physiopathology*