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THE JOURNAL OF SPORTS MEDICINE AND PHYSICAL FITNESS
Rivista di Medicina, Traumatologia e Psicologia dello Sport
Indexed/Abstracted in: Chemical Abstracts, CINAHL, Current Contents/Clinical Medicine, EMBASE, PubMed/MEDLINE, Science Citation Index Expanded (SciSearch), Scopus
Impact Factor 1,111
Original articles SPORT INJURIES AND REHABILITATION
The Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness 2004 March;44(1):49-53
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
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.