BACKGROUND AND OBJECTIVE Motor performance during childhood and adolescence is recognized as a relevant determinant of present and future health, but its effects on back pain (BP) remain unclear. In this systematic review, we aimed to identify the association between motor performance and BP in children and adolescents.
DATABASES AND DATA TREATMENT A literature search was performed in the MEDLINE, Scopus, Embase, SPORTDiscus, and CINAHL databases. We included cross-sectional, cohort, case-control, and controlled clinical trials (data from control groups). The inclusion criteria were as follows: (a) participants aged 6-19 years; (b) assessment motor performance components; (c) assessment of BP; and (d) reported measures of association. The risk of bias was assessed by the Downs and Black instrument and the quality of evidence by the grading of recommendations, assessment, development, and evaluation (GRADE).
RESULTS A total of 2,360 articles were identified, 25 of which were included in our systematic review. Of the 25 studies, 19 were evaluated as having a low risk of bias. GRADE indicated that 20 studies presented low or very low quality. Most of the studies evaluated flexibility (n=16), muscle endurance (n=18), and muscle strength (n=9). Aerobic capacity, balance, and speed were also examined in some studies (n<5). Overall, motor performance (flexibility, muscle endurance, muscle strength, aerobic capacity, balance, and speed) was not associated with BP. Most of the results were inconsistent because of the lack of studies, risk of bias, and low quality of evidence. Only trunk extensor muscle endurance was associated with decreased BP with moderate quality of the supporting evidence. Prospective studies with a low risk of bias are warranted to further clarify this relationship in childhood and adolescence and findings may support more targeted and effective health promotion interventions.