Well, your back pain can really be a pain in the wrong place. Apart from old age back pain, scientists say back ache is the leading cause of global disability. It has a 13 percent higher chance of dying prematurely, a new study has warned.
The study by researchers at the University of Sydney in Australia of 4,390 Danish twins aged more than 70 years investigated whether spinal pain increased the rate of all-cause and disease-specific cardiovascular mortality. Low back pain is a major problem, ranked as the highest contributor to disability in the world, researchers said.
‘Our study found that compared to those without spinal pain (back and neck), a person with spinal pain has a 13 percent higher chance of dying every year. This is a significant finding as many people think that back pain is not life-threatening,’ said Associate Professor Paulo Ferreira, from the University’s Faculty of Health Sciences.
‘As this study was done in twins, the influence of shared genetic factors is unlikely because it was controlled for in our analysis,’ Ferreira said.
‘With a rapidly growing ageing population, spinal health is critical in maintaining older age independence, highlighting the importance of spinal pain in primary health care as a presenting symptom,’ lead author Matthew Fernandez from the Faculty of Health Sciences, said.
Researchers said back pain should be recognised as an important co-morbidity that is likely to impact people’s longevity and quality of life.
Recent research has also found that commonly prescribed medications for back pain such as paracetamol and anti-inflammatory drugs are ineffective in treating pain and have side effects.
Few studies have examined the potentially reduced life expectancy associated with spinal pain in an ageing population, particularly after controlling for familial factors, including genetics.