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The prevalence and characteristics of back pain among school children in New Zealand

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A cross-sectional survey among 245 children was conducted to establish the prevalence and characteristics of back pain in school children aged 11-14 years. A self-complete questionnaire was used to ascertain demographic details, pain prevalence, psychosocial parameters, school and leisure activities and family characteristics. In the last month, 58% of children had experienced spinal pain. In total, 31% of children reported that pain occurred in one part of the back, while 28% stated that pain presented in more than one spinal region. Pain in the last month was found to be equally prevalent in the low back (35%) and neck (36%) regions. Low back pain was associated with the most severe pain and pain lasting for the longest duration when compared with the upper back and neck regions. Further research should be directed towards investigating pain in the neck region and understanding the characteristics of symptom co-occurrence. Statement of Relevance:A survey was conducted to establish the prevalence and characteristics of back pain in school children. The results provide additional evidence that back pain is a serious problem in children aged 11-14 years, whilst also indicating widespread co-occurrence of pain in the neck, upper back and lower back spinal regions.
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Keywords: back pain; epidemiology; prevalence; school children

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Centre for Ergonomics, Occupational Safety and Health, School of Management, College of Business, Private Bag 11222, Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand

Publication date: December 1, 2010

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