Category: Spine Pain | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
New research out of Australia suggests that back pain is linked to an increased risk of all-cause mortality.
That’s not to say that spine injuries are literally killing people, but it does suggest that back problems are a sign that your overall health may not be the best. This makes sense, as back pain generally hits two populations at a higher rate – those who are old and those who are obese – and it shouldn’t be surprising that these two groups have rates of death than others.
Back Pain Study
For their study, researchers examined 4,390 twins over the age of 70 in order to see if spinal pain was associated with an increased risk of dying from any cause. What they found was that individuals with spine or neck pain had a 13 percent increased risk of dying each year compared to individuals without back pain.
“Our study found that compared to those without spinal pain, a person with spinal pain has a 13 percent higher chance of dying every year,” said study senior author Paulo Ferreira, a physiotherapy researcher at the University of Sydney. “This is a significant finding as many people think that back pain is not life-threatening.”
Researchers said the study didn’t prove that back pain caused the mortality increase, only that the two factors were associated with one another. They want to conduct further studies to see if they can draw clearer conclusions between back pain and all-cause mortality.
“These findings warrant further investigation because while there is a clear link between back pain and mortality, we don’t know yet this is so,” said Ferreira. “Spinal pain may be part of poor health and poor functional ability, which increases mortality risk in the older population.”
Don’t Ignore Back Pain
Although the study doesn’t prove causation, it speaks to a larger message that we should take steps to prevent back pain from occurring, and we shouldn’t ignore it or try to power through when it does set in. However, there’s some encouraging news to come out of these findings. If you are older and you’re dealing with back pain, it’s an indication that you should go in for a health screen. Back pain could lead to an office visit where the doctor uncovers a larger issue and gets you back on the road to recovery.
So if you’re dealing with spine pain, don’t just shrug it off. Set up a consultation with a spine specialist so you can get to the bottom of your pain and get the right treatment. Treating the issue can take your back pain away, and it may just add years to your life!