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Body Composition Is Associated With Multisite Lower Body Musculoskeletal Pain in a Community-Based Study

  • Sharmayne R.E. Brady
    Affiliations
    Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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  • Bambino B. Mamuaya
    Affiliations
    Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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  • Flavia Cicuttini
    Affiliations
    Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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  • Anita E. Wluka
    Affiliations
    Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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  • Yuanyuan Wang
    Affiliations
    Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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  • Sultana Monira Hussain
    Affiliations
    Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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  • Donna M. Urquhart
    Correspondence
    Address reprint requests to Donna M. Urquhart, PhD, Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, The Alfred Centre, 99 Commercial Rd, Melbourne 3004, Victoria, Australia.
    Affiliations
    Department of Epidemiology and Preventive Medicine, School of Public Health and Preventive Medicine, Monash University, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
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      Highlights

      • Pain at multiple sites is common; the impact of body composition is unclear.
      • We examined the association between body composition and pain at 3 sites.
      • Dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry was used to assess body composition.
      • Multisite pain was common, with the most frequent site being the lower back.
      • Greater fat mass was associated with an increased number of lower body pain sites.

      Abstract

      Population-based studies suggest that pain in the lower body is common and that pain at multiple sites is more prevalent than single-site pain. Obesity is a risk factor for multisite musculoskeletal pain, but there are limited data on the role of body composition. Therefore, we sought to determine whether body composition is associated with multisite musculoskeletal pain involving the low back, knee, and foot. A total of 133 participants were recruited for a study examining the relationship between obesity and musculoskeletal disease. Participants completed validated questionnaires that examined levels of pain at the low back, knee, and foot. Body composition was assessed using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry. Multisite pain was common, with 26.3% of participants reporting pain at 2 sites and 31.6% at 3 sites, and only 20% were pain free. The low back was the most common site of pain (63%). Greater fat mass and fat mass index, but not fat-free mass, were associated with pain at a greater number of sites, independent of age, gender, and fat-free mass (P < .01). Longitudinal studies exploring the mechanism of action by which increased fat mass is associated with pain may provide important insights into therapeutic strategies for the prevention of multisite pain.

      Perspective

      Greater fat mass and fat mass index were associated with a greater number of lower body pain sites, with no association observed for fat-free mass. Understanding the mechanism by which increased fat mass is associated with pain may provide important insights into therapeutic strategies for the prevention of pain.

      Key words

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