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Leisure Sports, Exercise May Not Be Back Pain Risk Factors

Last Updated: April 21, 2009.

Participating in leisure time sports or exercise does not appear to be a risk factor for developing lower back pain (LBP), but the evidence is conflicting when it comes to other leisure and work activities, according to a review of medical literature reported in the April 15 issue of Spine.

TUESDAY, April 21 (HealthDay News) -- Participating in leisure time sports or exercise does not appear to be a risk factor for developing lower back pain (LBP), but the evidence is conflicting when it comes to other leisure and work activities, according to a review of medical literature reported in the April 15 issue of Spine.

Eric W. P. Bakker, Ph.D., of Erasmus University in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and colleagues conducted a review of the medical literature on spinal mechanical load during leisure time and work activities as risk factors for LBP. After screening 105 studies, the researchers analyzed the results of 18 studies conducted from 1992 to 2007 involving some 24,315 patients.

The researchers reported that participation in leisure time sports, fitness exercise, sitting, prolonged standing and walking was not associated with LBP. There was conflicting evidence that other leisure time or work activities were risk factors for LBP, including gardening and do-it-yourself projects, whole-body vibration at work, nursing activities, heavy physical work, and working in a bent or contorted position.

"The duration of these quantitatively categorized exposures varies from 15 minutes or more per day to 2.0 to 8.5 hours per shift. Thus, the assessed exposures represent at best 35 percent of the total exposure time possible per day. Interactions with other daily exposures are likely and the 65 percent missing exposure time could have considerable effect for the assessed risk factor(s) for LBP," the authors write.

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