A school‐based survey of recurrent non‐specific low‐back pain prevalence and consequences in children

M.A. Jones, G. Stratton, T. Reilly, V.B. Unnithan

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102 Citations (Scopus)


The aim of this investigation was to provide evidence of the prevalence and consequences of recurrent low‐back pain in children from Northwest England. A cross‐sectional survey was conducted involving a standardized questionnaire with established reliability and validity. A cross‐sectional sample of 500 boys (n = 249) and girls (n = 251) aged between 10 and 16 years participated in the study. Average lifetime prevalence of low‐back pain was 40.2% [95% confidence interval (CI) = 38.7–41.6]. Most cases of low‐back pain were acute episodes that did not lead to disabling consequences. In contrast, 13.1% (95% CI = 12.5–13.7) experienced recurrent low‐back pain that led to disabling consequences; 23.1% visited a medical practitioner, 30.8% experienced loss of physical activity/sports and 26.2% had been absent from school because of low‐back pain. Recurrent low‐back pain was particularly evident during late adolescence where one in five children were cases. The health education implications of low‐back pain in children are discussed. It was concluded that low‐back pain is a common complaint during childhood, although most cases are acute episodes that represent little health consequence. In contrast, some children experience recurrent low‐back pain that can lead to disabling consequences. Future research should focus on recurrent low‐back pain cases since they often led to disabling consequences.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)284-289
Number of pages6
JournalHealth Education Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jun 2004


  • child
  • pain


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