American Journal of Medical Sciences and Medicine
ISSN (Print): 2327-6681 ISSN (Online): 2327-6657 Website: Editor-in-chief: Apply for this position
Open Access
Journal Browser
American Journal of Medical Sciences and Medicine. 2017, 5(2), 35-39
DOI: 10.12691/ajmsm-5-2-3
Open AccessReview Article

Measuring the Relationship between Obesity and Low Back Pain: A Review Article

Qais Gasibat1, , Nordin Bin Simbak1, Saad EL Barasi2 and Adel Almangoush3

1Sultan Zainal Abidin University Malaysia

2Higher Institute of Medical Professions, Benghazi

3Faculty of Medical Technology, Misurata

Pub. Date: May 04, 2017

Cite this paper:
Qais Gasibat, Nordin Bin Simbak, Saad EL Barasi and Adel Almangoush. Measuring the Relationship between Obesity and Low Back Pain: A Review Article. American Journal of Medical Sciences and Medicine. 2017; 5(2):35-39. doi: 10.12691/ajmsm-5-2-3


Low back pain (LBP) is a common and elusive disorder. It cannot be comfortably diagnosed through clinical procedures, and little is understood about its etiology. From a public health perspective, it would be important to know if lifestyle factors, such as body weight, play an important role in its genesis. However, a look at the literature reveals some misperceptions. There are several hypotheses relating to a link between obesity and LBP. Increased mechanical demands resulting from obesity have been suspected of causing LBP through excessive wear and tear, and it has been suggested that metabolic factors associated with obesity may be detrimental. Thus, some consider it possible, but not particularly strong contributing factor of LBP, whereas others do not think that it is a risk factor of LBP. It has also been postulated that obesity may be a marker or an organizer for some other factors that are considered the causes of LBP. This study aims to measure the relationship between body weight and low back pain (LBP).

low back pain obesity associated risk factor evidence-based practice

Creative CommonsThis work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. To view a copy of this license, visit


[1]  NICE guideline: Obesity guidance on the prevention, identification, assessment and management of overweight and obesity in adults and children (Dec 2006).
[2]  Mirtz TA, Greene L. Is obesity a risk factor for low back pain? An example of using the evidence to answer a clinical question. Chiropractic & Osteopathy 2005; 13(2): 1340-1346.
[3]  Rennie K.L, Jebb S.A. 2005. Prevalence of obesity in Great Britain Obesity Reviews Volume 6, Issue 1, Date: February 2005, Pages: 11-12.
[4]  Waddell G. (2004). The Back Pain Revolution, Second Edition, Churchill Livingstone.
[5]  Mandiakis and Gray, 2000 N. Mandiakis and A. Gray, The economic burden of low back pain in the United Kingdom, Pain 84 (1) (2000), pp. 95-103.
[6]  Wynne-Jone G, Dunn G, Main C. J. (February 2008) European Journal of Pain Volume 12, Issue 2, Pages 180-188 The impact of low back pain on work: A study in primary care consulters.
[7]  Kohlmann Michel A, T, Raspe H. The association between clinical findings on physical examination and self-reported severity in back pain. Results of a population-based study. Spine 1997; 22: 296–304.
[8]  Waddell G, Somerville D, Henderson I, Newton M. Objective clinical evaluation of physical impairment in chronic low back pain. Spine 1992; 17: 617-28.
[9]  Power C, Frank J, Hertzman C, Schierhout G, Li L. Predictors of Low Back Pain Onset in a Prospective British Study. American Journal of Public Health 2001; 91(10): 1671-78.
[10]  Leboeuf-Yde CDC. Body Weight and Low Back Pain: A Systematic Literature Review of 56 Journal Articles Reporting on 65 Epidemiologic Studies. Spine 2000; 25(2): 226-43.
[11]  Aro S, Leino P. Overweight and musculoskeletal morbidity: A ten-year followup. Int J Obesity 1985; 9: 267-75.
[12]  Bostman O.M., 1993, Body Mass Index and Height in patients requiring surgery for lumbar intervertebral disc herniation. Spine, 18: 851-4.
[13]  Deyo RA, Bass JE. Lifestyle and low-back pain. The influence of smoking and obesity. Spine 1989; 14: 501-6.
[14]  Heliövaara M. Body height, obesity, and risk of herniated lumbar intervertebral disc. Spine 1987; 12: 469-72.
[15]  Kelsey J.L An epidemiological study of acute herniated lumbar intervertebral discs, Rheumatol Rehabil 1975 14:144-159.
[16]  Pope M.H., Bevins T.,Wilder D.G., Frymoyer J.W. 1985 The relationship between anthropometric, postural, muscular and mobility characteristics of males ages 18-55. Spine 10: 644-8.
[17]  Wright D., Barrow S., Fisher A.D. Horsley S.D. Jayson M.I.V 1995. The influence of physical, psychological and behavioural factors on consultations for back pain. Br Jnl Rheumatol: 34: 156-61.
[18]  Kostova V, Koleva M. Back disorders (low back pain, cervicobrachial and lumbosacral radicular syndromes) and some related risk factors. J Neurol Sci. 2001; 192: 17-25.
[19]  Felson D.T., 1996, Weight and Osteoarthritis: AmerJnl of Clin Nutrition, 63, 430-432.
[20]  Buckwalter JA, Goldberg VM, Woo SL. In: Musculoskeletal Soft Tissue Aging: Impact on Mobility. American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons Symposium. Rosemont, IL; 1993.
[21]  Garzillo MJ, Garzillo TA. Does obesity cause low back pain? J Manipulative Physio Ther. 1994; 17: 601-4.
[22]  Toda Y, Segal N, Toda T, Morimoto T, Ogawa R. Lean Body Mass and Body Fat Distribution in Participants with Chronic Low Back Pain. Arch Intern Med 2000; 160(21): 3265-3269.
[23]  Ryden LA, Molgaard CA, Bobbitt S, Conway J. Occupational low-back injury in a hospital employee population: An epidemiologic analysis of multiple risk factors of a high-risk occupational group. Spine 1989; 14: 315-20.
[24]  Manninen P, Riihimäki H, Heliövaara M. Incidence and risk factors of low-back pain in middle-aged farmers. Occup Med 1995; 45: 141-6.
[25]  Mortimer M, Wiktorin C, Pernold G, Svensson E, Vingard E. Sports activities, body weight and smoking in relation to low-back pain: a population-based case-referent study. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2001; 11: 178-184.
[26]  Bener A, Alwash R, Gaber T, Lovasz G. Obesity and Low Back Pain. Coll. Antropol. 2003; 27(1): 95-104.
[27]  Leboeuf-Yde CDC, Kyvik KO, Bruun NH. Low back Pain and Lifestyle. Part 11- Obesity: Information From a Population-based sample of 29,424 Twin Subjects. Spine 1999; 24(8): 779-84.
[28]  Leboeuf-Yde C. Back pain – individual and genetic factors. Journal of Electromyography and Kinesiology 2004; 14(1): 129-133.
[29]  Han TS, Schouten JSAG, Lean MEJ, Seidell JC. The Prevalence of Low Back Pain and Associations with Body Fatness, Fat Distribution and Height. International J of Obesity 1997; 21: 600-7.
[30]  Webb R, Brammah T, Lunt M, Urwin M, Allison T, Symmons D. Prevalence and Predictors of Intense, Chronic, and Disabling Neck and Back Pain in the UK General Population. Spine 2003; 28(11): 1195-1202.
[31]  Baker PG, Giles LGF. Is Excess Weight Related to Chronic Spinal Pain? Chiropr J Aust 1999; 29: 51-4.
[32]  Tsuritani I, Honda R, Noborisaka Y, Ishida M, Ishizaki M, Yamada Y. Impact of obesity on musculoskeletal pain and difficulty of daily movements in Japanese middle-aged women. The European Menopause Journal 2002; 42(1): 23-30.
[33]  Sjolie AN. Low-back pain in adolescents is associated with poor hip mobility and high body mass index. Scand J Med Sci Sports 2004; 14(3): 168-175.
[34]  Jones MA, Stratton G, Reilly T, Unnithan VB. Biological risk indicators for recurrent non-specific low back pain in adolescents. Br J Sports Med 2005; 39: 137-140.
[35]  Fanuele JC, Abdu WA, Hanscom B, Weinstein JN. Association Between Obesity and Functional Status in Patients With Spine Disease. Spine 2002; 27(3): 306-12.
[36]  Shaw K, Gennat H, O’Rourke P, Del Mar C (2007). The Cochrane Collaboration Review into Exercise for Overweight or Obesity. John Wiley and Sons, Publishers, United Kingdom.
[37]  Liira, Juha P., et al. “Long-term back problems and physical work exposures in the 1990 Ontario Health Survey.” American Journal of Public Health 86.3 (1996): 382-387.
[38]  Smith MD, Russell A, Hodges PW. Disorders of breathing and continence have a stronger association with back pain than obesity and physical activity. Australian J of Physiotherapy 2006; 52: 11-16.
[39]  Johnson, Sheena, et al. “The experience of work-related stress across occupations.” Journal of managerial psychology 20.2 (2005): 178-187.