New research presented yesterday at the 2015 Annual Meeting of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (AAOS) identifies nicotine dependence, obesity, alcohol abuse and depressive disorders as risk factors for low back pain, a common condition causing disability, missed work, high medical costs and diminished life quality. Low back pain (LBP) is a common diagnosis and results in increases in disability, sick days, and medical costs to society. Many studies have evaluated risk factors related to LBP, with conflicting results. Determining modifiable risk factors for LBP is important to help avoid the morbidity and cost associated with chronic symptoms. The goal of this study is to determine the relative risk of LBP in patients with risk factors of nicotine dependence, obesity, alcohol abuse, and depressive disorders.
To minimize the morbidity, cost, and potential disability in patients diagnosed with low back pain, it is important to determine modifiable and treatable patient risk factors. Defining patient risk factors for developing low back pain will enable physicians to more closely monitor and counsel at-risk patients to help prevent development and progression of their pain. Nicotine dependence, obesity, depressive disorders, and alcohol abuse were determined to be significant patient risk factors for low back pain in the cohort of 26 million patients.
“This study used an electronic health care database to identify modifiable risk factors—obesity, depressive disorders, alcohol and tobacco use—in patients with low back pain,” said lead study author and orthopaedic surgeon Scott Shemory, MD. “The findings will allow physicians to better counsel and more closely follow their high-risk patients.”
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