Physical Activities and Low Back Pain: A Community-Based Study

Tamar Jacob, Mario Baras, Aviva Zeev, Leon Epstein

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


Very little is known about the relationship between physical activity and low back pain (LBP) in general populations. This study aimed to evaluate the relationship between different dimensions of physical activity and LBP among all adults of a defined community. Methods: A cross-sectional survey addressed all adults aged 22-70 of a single town. Inhabitants were asked to complete a self-administered questionnaire regarding physical activities, LBP, and related characteristics. The Beacke Physical Activity Questionnaire evaluated physical activity, and the Modified Roland and Morris Disability Questionnaire, a pain severity scale, and the Pain Symptoms Frequency and Bothersomeness Indices evaluated LBP. Results: High occupational activity demands contributed to increased LBP prevalence, and, conversely, high sporting activity participation contributed to a decline in all LBP measures. Subjects free of LBP and subjects who participate in sporting activities are more likely not to smoke and not to participate in high occupational activity demands. Type of sporting activity was not associated with LBP prevalence or severity. Conclusions: Different dimensions of physical activity yield different relationships to LBP. There are several shared characteristics of those participating in sport on a regular basis and those free of LBP. Both groups present a healthier lifestyle. Although LBP was less frequent among those who participate in sporting activities, participating in sporting activities did not contribute independently to a lower prevalence of LBP. However, once LBP was established, participating in sporting activities contributed indirectly to its severity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)9-15
Number of pages7
JournalMedicine and Science in Sports and Exercise
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2004


  • Healthy lifestyle
  • Participation
  • Physical activity


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