Long-term effect of physical inactivity on thoracic and lumb
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The correlation between physical inactivity, thoracolumbar disc degeneration, and back pain remains unclear for which a study investigated the relationship between short- and long-term physical inactivity and degenerative changes of the thoracic and lumbar spine in a southern German cohort from the general population over a time period of 14 years.

This study was designed as a cross-sectional case–control study. All participants in the population-based KORA study were assessed using a physical activity questionnaire to establish a baseline, within an initial follow up questionnaire in, and a second follow-up questionnaire between. A subsample of this group (400 subjects) underwent full body MR scan performed on a 3T MRI scanner current with exam 3.

Quantification of thoracic and lumbar disc degeneration was performed using the Pfirrmann score. Physical activity was grouped as no physical activity, irregularly for 1 hour, regularly for 1 hour, or regularly for more than 2 hours. This was used to calculate another variable “physical inactivity,” with the options of irregular activity less than 1 hour per week or regularly morer than 1 hour. Physical labor, walking, and cycling activity were additionally investigated. Correlations between physical inactivity measurements and thoracic and lumbar disc degeneration were analyzed via linear regression models adjusted for age, sex, BMI, hypertension, diabetes, and back pain.

Results:
In total, 385 individuals were included in this study. Mean summed Pfirrmann score was 2.41 in the thoracic and 1.78 in the lumbar spine.
--The level of current exercise in cohort varied with 113 subjects exercising regularly more than 2 hours per week, 118 regularly 1 hour per week, 57 irregularly for about 1 hour per week, and 97 stated not to exercise at exam 3.
--Disc degeneration was more apparent in those with irregular activity less than 1 hour compared to those with regular activity of more than 1 hour and more per week and in those with no activity compared to those with regular activity of more than 2 measured using exam 3.
--Less physical activity over a time period of 14 years correlated with an increase of disc degeneration of the thoracic and lumbar spine after adjustment for age, sex, BMI, hypertension and diabetes mellitus.
--There was no statistically significant association between physical labor, walking activity, or cycling activity with disc degeneration.
--Additionally, no significant correlations between degree of disc degeneration, degree of physical inactivity, and back pain were observed.

Conclusively, degree of physical inactivity as measured over a time period of 14 years demonstrated a strong correlation with disc degeneration of the thoracic and lumbar spine.

Source: https://www.thespinejournalonline.com/article/S1529-9430(20)30166-2/fulltext
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