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PLoS One



Factors affecting chronic low back pain among high school baseball players in Japan: A pilot study.


Nakao H, Imai R, Hamada T, Imaoka M, Hida M, Morifuji T, Hashimoto M
PLoS One. 2023; 18(1):e0280453.
PMID: 36701350.


The prevalence of chronic lower back pain (CLBP) among baseball players is high. CLBP is associated with reduced participation in practice and games. This pilot study examined the factors associated with CLBP among high school baseball players in Fukui, Japan. The participants underwent two health examinations in high school: (1) as first-grade baseball players (baseline) and (2) as second-grade baseball players (follow-up); a total of 59 players who could be followed-up a year later were included in the study. Players were divided into three groups based on whether they had no lower back pain (LBP) (n = 30), improved LBP (n = 17), or CLBP (n = 12) after 1 year of follow-up. Players were evaluated on the physical and cognitive aspects of pain. The Number Rating System, Pain Catastrophizing Scale (PCS), Tampa Scale for Kinesiophobia (TSK), Central Sensitization Inventory (CSI), body characteristics (age, height, weight, body mass index, and skeletal mass index), and a medical history questionnaire regarding spondylolysis and baseball loads were used to evaluate the players. Inventory scores were highest in the CLBP group, which indicated that this group had significant pain that affected their willingness to engage in baseball-related activities. The TSK scores in the CLBP group were worse on follow-up. High school baseball players with CLBP were more likely to have lumbar spondylolysis and kinesiophobia, which are also factors related to pain chronicity. Kinesiophobia and the presence of lumbar spondylolysis should be considered when creating an exercise program for high school baseball players with CLBP.