Risk factors for low back pain and sciatica in elderly men-the MrOS Sweden study

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Introduction: the aim of this study was to identify whether factors beyond anatomical abnormalities are associated with low back pain (LBP) and LBP with sciatica (SCI) in older men. Material and methods: Mister Osteoporosis Sweden includes 3,014 men aged 69-81 years. They answered questionnaires on lifestyle and whether they had experienced LBP and SCI during the preceding 12 months. About 3,007 men answered the back pain (BP) questions, 258 reported BP without specified region. We identified 1,388 with no BP, 1,361 with any LBP (regardless of SCI), 1,074 of those with LBP also indicated if they had experienced LBP (n = 615), LBP+SCI (n = 459).Results: about 49% of those with LBP and 54% of those with LBP+SCI rated their health as poor/very poor (P < 0.001). Men with any LBP to a greater extent than those without BP had poor self-estimated health, depressive symptoms, dizziness, fall tendency, serious comorbidity (diabetes, stroke, coronary heart disease, pulmonary disease and/or cancer) (all P < 0.001), foreign background, were smokers (all P < 0.01), had low physical activity and used walking aids (all P < 0.05). Men with LBP+SCI to a greater extent than those with LBP had lower education, lower self-estimated health, comorbidity, dizziness and used walking aids (all P < 0.001). Conclusions: in older men with LBP and SCI, anatomical abnormalities such as vertebral fractures, metastases, central or lateral spinal stenosis or degenerative conditions may only in part explain prevalent symptoms and disability. Social and lifestyle factors must also be evaluated since they are associated not only with unspecific LBP but also with LBP with SCI.


External organisations
  • Skåne University Hospital
  • University of Gothenburg
  • Uppsala University Hospital
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Gerontology, specializing in Medical and Health Sciences
  • Physiotherapy


  • Cross-sectional study, Low back pain, Men, Older people, Sciatica
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)64-71
Number of pages8
JournalAge and Ageing
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2017
Publication categoryResearch