Sedentary lifestyle as a risk factor for low back pain: a systematic review
PainSci summary of Chen 2009?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focussed on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided at the bottom of the page, as often as possible. ★★★★☆?4-star ratings are for larger and better studies and reviews published in more prestigious journals, with only quibbles. Ratings are a highly subjective opinion, and subject to revision at any time. If you think this paper has been incorrectly rated, please let me know.
This systematic review of 15 studies, 8 classified as high quality, “confirms that sedentary lifestyle by itself is not associated with low back pain.” Only one of the high-quality studies reported a link.
OBJECTIVES: To review systematically studies examining the association between sedentary lifestyle and low back pain (LBP) using a comprehensive definition of sedentary behaviour including prolonged sitting both at work and during leisure time.
METHODS: Journal articles published between 1998 and 2006 were obtained by searching computerized bibliographical databases. Quality assessment of studies employing a cohort or case-control design was performed to assess the strength of the evidence.
RESULTS: Using pre-determined keywords, we identified 1,778 titles of which 1,391 were considered irrelevant. Then, 20 of the remaining 387 publications were scrutinized for full review after an examination of all the 387 abstracts. Finally, 15 studies (10 prospective cohorts and 5 case-controls) were included in the methodological quality assessment, of which 8 (6 cohorts and 2 case-controls; 53%) were classified as high-quality studies. One high-quality cohort study reported a positive association, between LBP and sitting at work only; all other studies reported no significant associations. Hence, there was limited evidence to demonstrate that sedentary behaviour is a risk factor for developing LBP.
CONCLUSIONS: The present review confirms that sedentary lifestyle by itself is not associated with LBP.
- “Spinal mechanical load as a risk factor for low back pain: a systematic review of prospective cohort studies,” an article in Spine (Phila Pa 1976), 2009.
- “Is sitting-while-at-work associated with low back pain? A systematic, critical literature review,” an article in Scand J Public Health, 2000.
- “Association between sitting and occupational LBP,” an article in European Spine Journal, 2007.
These six articles on PainScience.com cite Chen 2009 as a source:
- PS The Trouble with Chairs — The science of being sedentary and how much it does (or doesn’t) affect your health and back pain
- PS Sciatica Science & Solutions — A guide to buttock and leg pain (which may or may not involve the sciatic nerve)
- PS Save Yourself from Low Back Pain! — Low back pain myths debunked and all your treatment options reviewed
- PS Wobble Cushions for the Chair Bound — Why and how people who have to be in a chair all day should sit on a stability cushion like the Disc o Sit or SitFit
- PS Microbreaking — Lots of little breaks may compensate
- PS Morning Back Pain — A thorough review of possible causes for this frustrating symptom