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      What is adolescent low back pain? Current definitions used to define the adolescent with low back pain

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      Journal of pain research

      Dove Medical Press

      lumbar pain, teenager, adolescent

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          Abstract

          Adolescent low back pain (ALBP) is a common form of adolescent morbidity which remains poorly understood. When attempting a meta-analysis of observational studies into ALBP, in an effort to better understand associated risk factors, it is important that the studies involved are homogenic, particularly in terms of the dependent and independent variables. Our preliminary reading highlighted the potential for lack of homogeneity in descriptors used for ALBP. This review identified 39 studies of ALBP prevalence which fulfilled the inclusion criteria, ie, English language, involving adolescents (aged 10 to 19 years), pain localized to lumbar region, and not involving specific subgroups such as athletes and dancers. Descriptions for ALBP used in the literature were categorized into three categories: general ALBP, chronic/recurrent ALBP, and severe/disabling ALBP. Whilst the comparison of period prevalence rates for each category suggest that the three represent different forms of ALBP, it remains unclear whether they represented different stages on a continuum, or represent separate entities. The optimal period prevalence for ALBP recollection depends on the category of ALBP. For general ALBP the optimal period prevalence appears to be up to 12 months, with average lifetime prevalence rates similar to 1-year prevalence rates, suggesting an influence of memory decay on pain recall.

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          Most cited references 46

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          Pain assessment.

          Pain usually is the major complaint of patients with problems of the back, thus making pain evaluation a fundamental requisite in the outcome assessment in spinal surgery. Pain intensity, pain-related disability, pain duration and pain affect are the aspects that define pain and its effects. For each of these aspects, different assessment instruments exist and are discussed in terms of advantages and disadvantages. Risk factors for the development of chronic pain have been a major topic in pain research in the past two decades. Now, it has been realised that psychological and psychosocial factors may substantially influence pain perception in patients with chronic pain and thus may influence the surgical outcome. With this background, pain acceptance, pain tolerance and pain-related anxiety as factors influencing coping strategies are discussed. Finally, a recommendation for a minimum as well as for a more comprehensive pain assessment is given.
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            Risk factors for the development of low back pain in adolescence.

            A previous history and earlier onset of low back pain are associated with chronic low back pain in adults, implying that prevention in adolescence may have a positive impact in adulthood. The study objectives were to determine the incidence of low back pain in a cohort of adolescents and to ascertain risk factors. A cohort of 502 high school students in Montreal, Canada, was evaluated during 1995-1996 at three separate times, 6 months apart. The outcome was low back pain occurrence at a frequency of at least once a week in the previous 6 months. Of the 377 adolescents who did not complain of low back pain at the initial evaluation, 65 developed low back pain over the year (cumulative incidence, 17 percent). Risk factors associated with development of low back pain were high growth (odds ratio = 3.09; 95 percent confidence interval (CI): 1.53, 6.01), smoking (odds ratio = 2.20; 95% CI: 1.38, 3.50), tight quadriceps femoris (odds ratio = 1.02; 95% CI: 1.00, 1.05), tight hamstrings (odds ratio = 1.04; 95% CI: 1.01, 1.06), and working during the school year (odds ratio = 1.33; 95% CI: 1.03, 1.71). Modifying such risk factors as smoking and poor leg flexibility may potentially serve to prevent the development of low back pain in adolescents.
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              Low back pain in schoolchildren: occurrence and characteristics.

              Low back pain in adolescents is perceived to be uncommon in the clinic setting. However, previous studies have suggested that it may be an important and increasing problem in this age-group. The aim of this study was to determine the prevalence and important symptom characteristics of low back pain such as duration, periodicity, intensity, disability and health seeking behaviour at young ages. A population-based cross-sectional study was conducted including 1446 children aged 11-14 years in the North-West of England. A self-complete questionnaire was used to assess low back pain prevalence, symptom characteristics, associated disability and health seeking behaviour. An additional self-complete questionnaire amongst parents sought to validate pain reporting. The 1-month period prevalence of low back pain was 24%. It was higher in girls than boys (29 vs. 19%; 2=14.7, P<0.001) and increased with age in both sexes (P<0.001). Of those reporting low back pain, 94% experienced some disability, with the most common reports being of difficulty carrying school bags. Despite this high rate of disability, few sought medical attention. Adolescent low back pain is common although medical attention is rarely sought. Such symptoms in childhood, particularly as they are so common, may have important consequences for chronic low back pain in adulthood.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Journal of pain research
                Dove Medical Press
                1178-7090
                2010
                17 May 2010
                : 3
                : 57-66
                Affiliations
                Centre for Allied Health Evidence, University of South Australia, Adelaide, South Australia
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Steven Milanese, Centre for Allied Health Evidence, University of South Australia, City East Campus, North Terrace Adelaide, South Australia 5000, Tel +61 883 022 570, Fax +61 883 022 086, Email steve.milanese@ 123456unisa.edu.au
                Article
                jpr-3-057
                3004638
                21197310
                © 2010 Milanese and Grimmer-Somers, publisher and licensee Dove Medical Press Ltd.

                This is an Open Access article which permits unrestricted noncommercial use, provided the original work is properly cited.

                Categories
                Review

                Anesthesiology & Pain management

                adolescent, teenager, lumbar pain

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