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Original articles  SPORT INJURIES AND REHABILITATION


The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2004 March;44(1):49-53

language: English

Low back pain in competitive rhythmic gymnasts

Cupisti A. 1, D’alessandro C. 1, Evangelisti I. 1, Piazza M. 2, Galetta F. 1, Morelli E. 1

1 Depart­ment of ­Internal Med­i­cine Uni­ver­sity of ­Pisa, ­Pisa, ­Italy
2 Motor Sci­ences Uni­ver­sity of Flor­ence, Flor­ence, ­Italy


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Aim. It has ­been ­reported ­that ­rhythmic gym­nasts are at ­risk of suf­fering ­from low ­back inju­ries, ­because of repet­i­tive ­lumbar hyper­ex­ten­sions. On the ­other ­hand, ­this ­sport ­requires fea­tures of lean­ness, mus­cular ­strength and flex­ibility ­that ­should rep­re­sent pro­tec­tive fac­tors for ­back ­pain.
­Methods. ­This ­cross-sec­tional ­study ­aimed to ­assess the prev­a­lence of low ­back ­pain in 67 ­club-­level com­pet­i­tive ­rhythmic gym­nasts ­aged 13-19 ­years. A stan­dard­ized ques­tion­naire was ­used to eval­uate ­back-­pain symp­toms. Anthro­po­metric meas­ure­ments, ­time ­spent in phys­ical ­activity, psy­cho­log­ical ­testing ­results, ­smoking ­habits and age of ­menarche ­were ­recorded.
One hun­dred and ­four age-­matched gen­eral ­females ­served as con­trol ­group.
­Results. Low ­back ­pain com­plaints ­were ­reported by 7 ­rhythmic gym­nasts and by 27 con­trols (10.4% vs 26.0%, p<0.05); the prev­a­lent loca­tion of ­back ­pain was bilat­eral in gym­nasts and cen­tral in con­trols. Gym­nasts had ­lower ­body ­weight, ­body ­mass ­index, fat ­body ­mass and ­delayed ­menarche. The ­females ­with low-­back ­pain dis­played ­higher ­body ­weight, ­body ­mass ­index, fat ­body ­mass, age, a ­greater ­smoking ­habit and ­more anx­ious/depres­sive beha­viour, ­both in the gym­nast and in the con­trol ­group.
Con­clu­sion. Com­pet­i­tive, ­club-­level ­rhythmic gym­nasts ­show a ­reduced prev­a­lence of low ­back-­pain. ­Being ­younger in age, ­having ­greater lean­ness, not ­smoking, dis­playing ­less anx­ious/depres­sive beha­viour, and devel­oping ­increased ­muscle ­strength and flex­ibility, all can rep­re­sent pre­ven­tive fac­tors for low ­back ­pain. ­This ­study sug­gests ­that ­rhythmic gym­nas­tics is not a dis­ci­pline at ­increased ­risk of low ­back ­pain.

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