Correlation of Body Composition and Low Back Pain Severity in a Cross-Section of US Veterans


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Abstract

ObjectiveBack pain is more prevalent in the obese, but whether back pain severity is directly correlated to obesity in veterans is unknown. We sought to determine if there was a correlation between body composition and low back pain severity in a sample of veterans. The hypothesis was that veterans with higher body mass index values would report higher low back pain severity scores.MethodsThis study was a retrospective chart review of 1768 veterans presenting to a Veterans Affairs chiropractic clinic with a chief complaint of low back pain between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2014. Spearman’s rho was used to test for correlation between body composition as measured by body mass index and low back pain severity as measured by the Back Bournemouth Questionnaire.ResultsOn average, the sample was predominantly male (91%), older than 50, and overweight (36.5%) or obese (48.9%). There was no correlation between body mass index and Back Bournemouth Questionnaire scores, r = .088, p < .001.ConclusionsThe majority of veterans with low back pain in this sample were either overweight or obese. There was no correlation between body composition and low back pain severity in this sample of veterans.

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