The association between psychological and social factors and spinal pain in adolescents

Eur J Pediatr. 2019 Mar;178(3):275-286. doi: 10.1007/s00431-018-3291-y. Epub 2018 Nov 21.

Abstract

Spinal pain, back pain, and/or neck pain begins early in life and is strongly associated with spinal pain in adulthood. Understanding the relationship between psychological and social factors and adolescent spinal pain may be important in both the prevention and treatment of spinal pain in this age group. We aimed to determine if psychological and social factors were associated with spinal pain in a cross-sectional study of a school-based cohort of 1279 Danish adolescents aged 11-13, who were categorized into "any" and "substantial" spinal pain. "Substantial spinal pain" was defined as a lifetime frequency of "sometimes" or "often" and a pain intensity of at least two on the revised Faces Pain Scale. Logistic regression analyses, stratified by sex, were conducted for single and all variables together. Eighty-six percent of participants reported "any spinal pain" and 28% reported "substantial spinal pain". Frequency of psychological and social factors was significantly higher in those with spinal pain compared to those without. As the frequency of psychological and social factors increased, the odds of both "any spinal pain" and "substantial spinal pain" also increased.Conclusion: Psychological and social factors may be important determinants in adolescent spinal pain. What is Known: • Spinal pain begins early in life to reach adult levels by age 18. Spinal pain in adolescence is strongly associated with spinal pain in adulthood. • In adults, psychological and social factors and spinal pain are strongly related; however, this relationship in adolescence is poorly understood. What is New: • Adolescents with spinal pain reported a significantly higher frequency of psychological factors and loneliness and lower levels of pupil acceptance. • Adolescents reporting higher levels of loneliness, lower levels of pupil acceptance, and increased frequency of psychological factors had increased odds of reporting "substantial spinal pain".

Keywords: Adolescent; Back pain; Psychological factor; School children; Social factor; Spinal pain.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Back Pain / etiology
  • Back Pain / psychology*
  • Child
  • Cross-Sectional Studies
  • Denmark
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Logistic Models
  • Male
  • Psychology, Adolescent
  • Risk Factors
  • Social Determinants of Health