Does Motor Development in Infancy Predict Spinal Pain in Later Childhood? A Cohort Study

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Abstract

• STUDY DESIGN:

Longitudinal cohort study.

• BACKGROUND:

Spinal pain is responsible for a huge personal and societal burden, but its etiology remains unclear. Deficits in motor control have been associated with spinal pain in adults, and delayed motor development is associated with a range of health problems and risks in children.

• OBJECTIVE:

To assess whether there is an independent relationship between the age at which infants first sit and walk without support and spinal pain at 11 years of age.

• METHODS:

Data from the Danish National Birth Cohort were analyzed, using the age at which children first sat and first walked without support as predictors. Parents reported the predictors when the children were 6 months and 18 months of age, and also provided information in response to a comprehensive list of covariates, including child sex, birth weight, and cognitive development; socioeconomic indicators; and parental health variables. Outcomes were measured at 11 years of age using the Young Spine Questionnaire, which assesses the presence and intensity of spinal pain. Data were analyzed using multivariable logistic regression models to estimate determinants of neck, thoracic, lumbar, and multisite pain.

• RESULTS:

The analyses included data from approximately 23 000 children and their parents. There were no consistent independent associations between the age at first sitting or walking and spinal pain at the age of 11. Odds ratios were between 0.95 and 1.00 for the various pain sites.

• CONCLUSION:

The age at which a child first sits or walks without support does not influence the likelihood that he or she will experience spinal pain in later childhood.

• LEVEL OF EVIDENCE:

Prognosis, level 4.

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