PURPOSE: To investigate the factors related to the 1-month period prevalence of low back pain (LBP), neck pain (NP) and thoracic spine pain (TSP) in young adolescents, thereby considering potential correlates from the physical, sociodemographic, lifestyle, psychosocial and comorbid pain domains.
METHODS: In this cross-sectional baseline study, 69 factors potentially associated with spinal pain were assessed among 842 healthy adolescents before pubertal peak growth. With consideration for possible sex differences in associations, multivariable analysis was used to simultaneously evaluate contributions of all variables collected in the five domains.
RESULTS: A significantly higher odds of LBP was shown for having high levels of psychosomatic complaints (odds ratio: 4.4; 95 % confidence interval: 1.6-11.9), a high lumbar lordotic apex, retroversed pelvis, introverted personality, and high levels of negative over positive affect. Associations with a higher prevalence and odds of NP were found for psychosomatic complaints (7.8; 2.5-23.9), TSP in the last month (4.9; 2.2-10.8), backward trunk lean, high levels of negative over positive affect and depressed mood. Having experienced LBP (2.7; 1.3-5.7) or NP (5.5; 2.6-11.8) in the preceding month was associated with a higher odds of TSP, as were low self-esteem, excessive physical activity, sedentarism and not achieving the Fit-norm.
CONCLUSIONS: Psychosomatic symptoms and pain comorbidities had the strongest association with 1-month period prevalence of spinal pain in young adolescents, followed by factors from the physical and psychosocial domains. The role that "physical factors" play in non-adult spinal pain may have been underestimated by previous studies.