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INTRODUCTION: It has been shown previously that a history of low back pain often begins in childhood or adulthood. Indeed, the prevalence of severe back symptoms among schoolchildren is not insignificant. Possibilities for the primary prevention of intervertebral disc degeneration-related conditions are poorly reported in the literature despite the assumed socio-economical impact of the prevention of these conditions. METHODS: In this review, the authors have collated published data on the prevalence and risk factors of childhood low back pain as well as the structure and results of published primary prevention programs. RESULTS: The prevalence of self-reported low back pain is 7-65% among children and it increases with age. Several lifestyle factors have been reported as significant risk factors for back pain, many of which are related to the schools. Current educational primary prevention programs in schools show no clear or long-term stable effect. CONCLUSION: Considering the growing evidence about the importance of normal and bad posture, an exercise-based posture correction program is suggested as a school-based primary prevention of disc degeneration-related symptoms. Further, prospective randomized studies with more than 20 years follow-up, however, are strongly required to confirm it.

Original publication




Journal article


Eur Spine J

Publication Date



23 Suppl 3


S385 - S393


Exercise Movement Techniques, Humans, Intervertebral Disc Degeneration, Low Back Pain, Posture, Prevalence