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bibliography*The PainScience Bibliography contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers and others sources, like a specialized blog. This page is about a single scientific paper in the bibliography, Dario 2017.

Obesity does not increase the risk of chronic low back pain when genetics are considered. A prospective study of Spanish adult twins


Tags: etiology, back pain, pro, pain problems, spine

PainSci summary of Dario 2017?This page is one of thousands in the bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused 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. ★★★★★?5-star ratings are for sentinel studies, excellent experiments with meaningful results. 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.

Despite a seemingly “obvious” connection between back pain and obesity, “current evidence remains unclear,” so this study tried to get everything right: a long-term study of over a thousand initially healthy people, measuring both the overall amount of fat as well its distribution, and using twins to control for “the possible effects of genetic and early shared environmental factors.” Quite advanced. And the results? They found nothing: “No increase in the risk of chronic LBP was found for any of the obesity-related measures.” They checked six ways from Sunday, and “obesity-related measures did not increase the risk of developing chronic low back pain.”

~ Paul Ingraham

original abstractAbstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.

BACKGROUND CONTEXT: Obesity is commonly investigated as a potential risk factor for low back pain (LBP); however, current evidence remains unclear. Limitations in previous studies may explain the inconsistent results in the field, such as the use of a cross sectional design, limitations in the measures used to assess obesity (eg, body mass index-BMI), and poor adjustment for confounders (eg, genetics and physical activity).

PURPOSE AND DESIGN: To better understand the effects of obesity on LBP, our aim was to investigate in a prospective cohort whether obesity-related measures increase the risk of chronic LBP outcomes using a longitudinal design. We assessed obesity through measures that consider the magnitude as well as the distribution of body fat mass. A within-pair twin case-control analysis was used to control for the possible effects of genetic and early shared environmental factors on the obesity-LBP relationship.

PATIENT SAMPLE AND OUTCOME MEASURES: Data were obtained from the Murcia Twin Registry in Spain. Participants were 1,098 twins, aged 43 to 71 years, who did not report chronic LBP at baseline. Follow-up data on chronic LBP >6 months), activity-limiting LBP, and care-seeking for LBP were collected after 2 to 4 years.

RISK FACTORS: The risk factors were BMI, percentage of fat mass, waist circumference, and waist-to-hip ratio.

METHODS: Sequential analyses were performed using logistic regression controlling for familial confounding: (1) total sample analysis (twins analyzed as independent individuals); (2) within-pair twin case-control analyses (all complete twin pairs discordant for LBP at follow-up); and within-pair twin case-control analyses separated for (3) dizygotic and (4) monozygotic twins.

RESULTS: No increase in the risk of chronic LBP was found for any of the obesity-related measures: BMI (men/women, odds ratio [OR]: 0.99; 95 % confidence interval [CI]: 0.86-1.14), % fat mass (women, OR: 0.87; 95% CI: 0.66-1.14), waist circumference (women, OR: 0.98; 95% CI: 0.74-1.30), and waist-to-hip ratio (women, OR: 1.05; 95% CI: 0.81-1.36). Similar results were found for activity-limiting LBP and care-seeking due to LBP. After the adjustment for genetics and early environmental factors shared by twins, the non-significant results remained unchanged.

CONCLUSIONS: After 2 to 4 years, obesity-related measures did not increase the risk of developing chronic LBP or care-seeking for LBP with or without adjustment for familial factors such as genetics in Spanish adults.

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