J Med Assoc Thai 2009; 92 (9):88

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Floor Activities and Degenerative Spinal Diseases
Wajanavisit W Mail, Woratanarat P , Wattanawong T , Laohacharoensombat W

Background: The typical oriental life style in Thailand involves significant time spent on activities on the
floor. This introduces an abnormal load against the spine and can cause the low back pain leading to the
degenerative change of the lumbosacral region.

Objective: To determine whether various floor activities in the early adult life could result in late degenerative
lumbar stenosis in the elderly patients. A case-controlled study was conducted. The patients having
undergone spinal surgery according to the degenerative spinal stenosis were the case subjects. The control
group consisted of the subjects having no significant back pain. The cases and the controls were matched by
age, gender, and residence location. The data were collected from their medical records, roentgenograms and
the standardized questionnaire. A variety of floor activities categorized by common behaviors in the Thai life
style was recorded.

Results: There were 65 matches of cases and controls. Fifty-four patients were female performing floor
activities for more than 28 times/week or more than 2 hours/week for longer than 10 years significantly
increased the risk of degenerative spinal diseases by more than 15 times when being compared to the control.
The most predictable activities related to the degenerative spinal diseases were occupational, cooking, and
latrine use.

Conclusion: Floor activities increased the risk of symptomatic degenerative spinal diseases in the Thai
population. The question whether the prolonged postures of these routine activities could result in lumbar
spinal stenosis needs more investigation in further studies.

Keywords: Case-control studies, Floors and floorcoverings, Life style, Low back pain, Lumbosacral region,
Spinal diseases

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