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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, Ettinger 1994.

Kyphosis in older women and its relation to back pain, disability and osteopenia: the study of osteoporotic fractures


Tags: back pain, counter-intuitive, biomechanics, pain problems, spine, etiology, pro

PainSci summary of Ettinger 1994?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. ★★★☆☆?3-star ratings are for typical studies with no more (or less) than the usual common problems. 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.

Posture is widely assumed to be a cause of pain, especially back pain, but even one of the most classic poor postures — kyphosis, excessive upper back curvature, “hunching over” — doesn’t seem to cause any trouble. In this study of 600 older women, not even the 10% with the worst kyphosis had “substantial chronic back pain, disability, or poor health.”

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.

To test the hypothesis that thoracic kyphosis is associated with substantial pain, disability, and height loss, we measured thoracic curvature, using an architect's flexicurve, of 610 women aged 65-91 years who were recruited from population-based listings. We assessed study subjects for back pain, back-related disability, height loss since age 25 years, perceived state of health, and bone mineral density (BMD) at the spine, calcaneus, proximal radius, and distal radius. Compared with the rest of the cohort, the 10% of women with the most severe kyphosis had 7%-17% lower BMD (p < 0.001) and had lost an additional 2.4 cm height (p < 0.001). However, kyphotic women had no greater back pain, disability caused by back problems, or poorer health. This cross-sectional study suggests that kyphosis is associated with decreased BMD and loss of height but does not cause substantial chronic back pain, disability, or poor health in older women.

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This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights: