Low-back pain brings many clients to massage therapy, and it is estimated that two-thirds of Americans will experience low-back pain sometime in their lives. New research illuminates the incidence of low-back pain in active-duty U.S. military personnel.

Researchers affiliated with several military hospitals set out to investigate the risk factors and incidence for developing low-back pain in active duty military population “to include age, sex, race, and rank, and military service,” according to an abstract published on www.pubmed.gov, in an epidemiological study.

The researchers noted that low-back pain “is among the most common musculoskeletal conditions worldwide and is estimated to affect nearly two-thirds of the US population at some point in their lives.”

Among the results of this research:

• The overall unadjusted incidence rate of low back pain was 40.5 per 1,000 person-years.

• Females, compared with males, had a significantly increased incidence rate ratio (IRR) for low back pain of 1.45.

• The IRR for the 40+ age group compared to the 20-29 age group was 1.28.

• With junior officers as the referent category, junior enlisted and senior enlisted rank groups had increased IRR for low back pain: 1.95 and 1.35, respectively.

• Each service, when compared with the Marines as the referent category, had a significantly increased IRR of low back pain: Army: 2.19, Navy: 1.02 and Air Force: 1.54.

• Compared to single servicemembers, significantly increased IRR for low back pain were seen in married servicemembers: 1.21.

“Female sex, enlisted rank groups, service in the Army, Navy or Air Force, age greater than 40 years, and a marital status of married were all risk factors for low back pain,” the researchers noted.

“The Incidence of Low Back Pain in Active Duty United States Military Servicemembers” is running in the journal Spine.

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