E. Rasmussen-Barr, C. Magnusson, M. Nordin, E. Skillgate

November 2019, Volume 28, Issue 11, pp 2502 - 2509 Original Article Read Full Article 10.1007/s00586-019-06071-5

First Online: 19 July 2019

Are respiratory disorders risk factors for troublesome low-back pain?


A multi-morbidity perspective of troublesome low back pain (LBP) has been highlighted for example in relation to respiratory disorders. Our purpose was to investigate whether respiratory disorders are risk factors for reporting troublesome LBP in people with no or occasional LBP at baseline.


This prospective cohort study was based on the Stockholm Public Health Cohort 2006/2010. We included adults reporting no or occasional LBP the last 6 months at baseline (n = 17,177). Exposures were self-reported asthma and/or Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD). Outcome was troublesome LBP defined as reporting LBP a couple of days per week or more often that restricted work capacity or hindered daily activities to some or to a high degree, the last 6 months. Binomial regression models were used to calculate risk ratios (RR) with 95% confidence intervals (95% CI).


Adjusted results indicate that those suffering from asthma had a risk of troublesome LBP at follow-up (RR 1.29, 95% CI 0.92–1.81) as do those suffering from COPD (RR 2.0, 95% CI 1.13–3.56). If suffering from asthma and concurrent COPD the RR was 3.55 (95% CI 1.58–7.98).


Our findings indicate that suffering from asthma and/or COPD increases the risk of developing troublesome LBP, which highlights the importance to consider the overall health of people at risk of troublesome LBP and to take the multi-morbidity perspective into consideration. Future longitudinal studies are needed to confirm our findings.

Graphic abstract

These slides can be retrieved under Electronic Supplementary Material.[Figure not available: see fulltext.]

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