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A 2-year randomized controlled trial.To examine the possible preventive or aggravating effect of estrogen-progestin treatment on the back symptoms of slim premenopausal women with low lumbar spine bone mineral density.The incidence of back pain, sciatica, or both starts to increase clearly among 45-54-year-old Finnish women.Forty-eight 39- to 49-year-old premenopausal women with a body mass index of 21 or less and a lumbar spine bone mineral density (L2-L4) of 1.1 ± 1 g/cm3 or less compared with the normative population were recruited into the study. The women were assigned randomly to receive either estradiol-noretisteron acetate treatment or placebo. Back pain, symptoms, and disability were assessed with the Million and Oswestry questionnaires and pain drawings during the follow-up period at 0, 12, and 24 months. Inquiry also was made concerning previous back pain and sciatica history.There was a statistically significant decrease in nighttime back pain (P < 0.001) and the total Oswestry disability scores (P < 0.004) in the hormone-treated group compared with the control group during the follow-up, but no statistically significant differences were found in daytime back pain. At baseline, the cumulative incidence in a history of pain radiating from the buttock to the foot in this osteopenic study group was 31/48, (64.5%; 95% CI 50.5-78.6), which is much more than the predicted 20/48, (42.4%; 95% CI 39.0-45.7) at this age according to a previous population study. The cumulative incidence of at least one back pain episode 44/48, (91.7%; 95% CI 83.6-99.8) was somewhat higher in these participants than was predicted for a comparative population of women this age, 38/48 (79.2%; 95% CI 70.2-87.3).It seems that this regimen may have alleviating effects on nighttime back pain and functional back disability in slim osteopenic premenopausal women.