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Revista de la Sociedad Española del Dolor

versión impresa ISSN 1134-8046


CAMARGO LEMOS, D.M.; OROZCO VARGAS, L.C.; HERNANDEZ SANCHEZ, J.  y  NINO CRUZ, G.I.. Chronic back pain and physical activity in students of health occupations. Rev. Soc. Esp. Dolor [online]. 2009, vol.16, n.8, pp.429-436. ISSN 1134-8046.

Objective: To explore the association between physical activity and chronic back pain in students of health occupations. Material and methods: A cross-sectional study was performed in university students from the first to tenth semesters, randomly selected and registered in the university between February, 2007 and June, 2008. Sociodemographic variables were gathered and physical activity was quantified through the long form of the International Physical Activity Questionnaire (IPAQ) in leisure time. The amount of time sitting or standing each week, in the hypoactive category, was also measured, using the short-form IPAQ. Pain was characterized using the Self Report of Pain Questionnaire (SRPQ) and the time since onset was registered as acute (< 3 months) or chronic (> 3 months). Back pain was recorded for one or more of the following locations: neck, dorsal and low back. Simple and multiple log-binomial regression models were used to estimate prevalence ratios (PR) and their 95% confidence intervals; the outcome variable was chronic back pain and the reference category consisted of students without pain (a = 0.05). Results: A total of 237 students, with a mean age of 20.6 ± 2 years (62.9% females), participated in the study. The prevalence of low, moderate and vigorous physical activity was 85.2% (95% CI 80.7-89.8), 6.9% (95% CI 3.5-10.3) and 8.4% (95% CI 4.9-12.0), respectively. The median weekly number of sitting hours was 60.5 h/week. The prevalence of pain on the day of the survey was 34.2%, (95% CI 28.1-40.2), that of acute pain was 18.3% (95% CI 12.8-23.9) and that of chronic pain 22.8% (95% CI 16.9-28.6); pain located in the neck was found in 60% (95% CI 49-71) and pain in the dorsal back in 57.5% (95% CI 46.4-68.6). The multivariate model took account of 190 observations; among the factors associated with chronic back pain were university year (PR = 1.4), sitting hours categorized in PR quartiles between 1.7 and 3.8, female gender (PR = 2.0) and single marital status (PR = 0.14), adjusted by the low physical activity category. Conclusions: These findings support the need to develop intervention programs from the perspective of health promotion to decrease the prevalence of chronic back pain in university students and to help improve their health and quality of life.

Palabras clave : Back pain; Physical activity; Students; Health occupations.

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