The Link Between Spine Health & Heart Health

Category: Spine | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: November 28, 2016

Spine & Heart Health

If you want to keep your heart healthy, you may want to begin by protecting your spine, according to findings published in Neurology.

According to researchers out of Canada, individuals with spine injuries had a much greater risk of suffering a cardiac event like a stroke or heart disease. Researchers say the risk of cardiovascular disease was nearly three times higher for patients with spinal cord injuries, and the risk of stroke was nearly four times higher.

“To put these values in context, the heightened odds ratios reported here are similar in magnitude to the estimated odds ratios in the general population for the relationship between smoking and myocardial infarction (heart attack),” said lead author Jacquelyn Cragg.

Spine Health and Heart Health

For their study, researchers examined health data from over 60,000 people in the Canadian Community Health Survey. They filtered through the results and identified 354 individuals who suffered from both a spinal cord injury and a previous stroke, and 356 individuals who had a spinal cord injury and cardiovascular disease. After examining this group of individuals, they came up with a couple of reasons as to why a spine injury may increase a person’s risk of a cardiac event. Spine injuries tended to:

  • Lead to more physical inactivity
  • Elevated blood pressure levels
  • Chronic inflammation

“I do know that inactivity and pain cause heart problems, as I am having problems with that at the moment,” said Walt Davis, a back pain sufferer of 30 years and a patient advocate for the Arachnoiditis Society for Awareness and Prevention (ASAP). “High levels of pain have been proven without question to elevate the heart rate to near stroke levels. There is much debate over metabolic disease, but a chronic pain patient is more likely to have this disease due to being overweight from medications and a decrease in activity.”

Taking an Active Role in Treatment

The findings published here are eye-opening and should be a testament to take an active role in treating your spinal condition. Whether that means simply heading into the doctor’s office to have your pain diagnosed, or moving forward with a surgical operation, it is clear that we need to take care of our spines if we want to keep our heart healthy. Anti-inflammatories can help mask pain, but patients need to take an active role in helping their injury heal. Oftentimes this is done in the form of physical therapy or stretching exercises, but it’s clear that many back conditions don’t resolve on their own, and ignoring them can have more serious implications for our total body health. If you’re dealing with a spinal condition, don’t wait any longer to start treatment. Contact Dr. Sinicropi today for an evaluation.

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