Low back pain in school-aged martial arts athletes in Japan: A comparison among Judo, Kendo, and Karate

Yutaka Yabe, Yoshihiro Hagiwara, Takuya Sekiguchi, Haruki Momma, Masahiro Tsuchiya, Kenji Kanazawa, Shinichirou Yoshida, Yasuhito Sogi, Toshihisa Yano, Takahiro Onoki, Eiji Itoi, Ryoichi Nagatomi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Martial arts, such as judo, kendo, and karate, are popular worldwide, not only among adults but also among children and adolescents. Although low back pain (LBP) is considered to be a common problem in these sports, it has been scarcely studied, especially in young athletes. The purpose of this study was to elucidate the point prevalence of and factors related to LBP among school-aged athletes in judo, kendo, and karate. A cross-sectional study was conducted in school-aged athletes (age, 6-15 years; n = 896) using a self-reported questionnaire. Multiple logistic regression models were used to assess the factors related to LBP along with the odds ratio (OR) and 95% confidence interval (95% CI). Variables included in the analysis were sex, age, body mass index, team level, number of days and hours of training, frequency of participation in games, practice intensity, and lower extremity pain. The prevalence of LBP was 6.9% in judo, 4.7% in kendo, and 2.9% in karate. Older age was significantly associated with LBP in judo (adjusted OR, 2.12 [95% CI, 1.24-3.61]), kendo (1.77 [1.27-2.47]), and karate (2.22 [1.14-4.33]). Lower extremity pain was significantly associated with LBP in judo (6.56 [1.57-27.34]) and kendo (21.66 [6.96-67.41]). Coaches should understand the characteristics of LBP in each martial art to develop strategies to prevent LBP among school-aged martial arts athletes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-301
Number of pages7
JournalTohoku Journal of Experimental Medicine
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Aug


  • Japan
  • Low back pain
  • Lower extremity pain
  • Martial arts
  • School-aged athletes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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