This study was designed to evaluate the role of vitamin D, muscle fatigue biomarkers, and mechanical factors in the progression of low back pain (LBP) in schoolchildren.
Children and adolescents frequently suffer from LBP with no clear clinical causes, and >71% of schoolchildren aged 12-17 years will show at least one episode of LBP.
A total of 250 schoolchildren aged 12-16 years were randomly enrolled in this study. For all schoolchildren height, weight, percentage of daily sun exposure and and areas of skin exposed to sun, method of carrying the bag, and bag weight and type were recorded over a typical school week. Pain scores, physical activity (PA), LBP, serum vitamin 25(OH)D level, serum bone-specific alkaline phosphatase, creatine kinase (CK), and lactate dehydrogenase (LDH) activities and calcium (Ca) concentrations were estimated using prevalidated Pain Rating Scale, modified Oswestry Low Back Pain Disability Questionnaire, short-form PA questionnaire, and colorimetric and immunoassay techniques.
During the period of October 2013-May 2014, LBP was estimated in 52.2% of the schoolchildren. It was classified into moderate (34%) and severe (18%). Girls showed a higher LBP (36%) compared with boys (24%). In schoolchildren with moderate and severe LBP significantly higher (P=0.01) body mass index, waist, hip, and waist-to-hip ratio measurements were observed compared with normal schoolchildren. LBP significantly correlated with less sun exposure, lower PA, sedentary activity (TV/computer use), and overloaded school bags. In addition, schoolchildren with severe LBP showed lower levels of vitamin 25(OH)D and Ca and higher levels of CK, LDH, and serum bone-specific alkaline phosphatase compared with moderate and healthy schoolchildren. Stepwise regression analysis revealed that age, gender, demographic parameters, PA, vitamin D levels, Ca, CK, and LDH associated with ~56.8%-86.7% of the incidence of LBP among schoolchildren.
In children and adolescents, LBP was shown to be linked with limited sun exposure, inadequate vitamin D diets, adiposity, lower PA, sedentary lifestyles, vitamin 25 (OH) D deficiency, and lower levels of Ca, CK, and LDH.