Back pain could be warning sign you will die young

The study analyzed almost 4,400 Danish twins over the age of 70 to see if spinal pain had any marked effect on all-cause and disease-specific cardiovascular mortality.

According to the study, now published online in European Journal of Pain, individuals who suffer from chronic back pain are 13 percent more likely to die early from any cause. "It's definitely a sign that if you have back pain, your health status is going to be much worse".

When people complain their back is killing them, they might not be exaggerating.

"This is a significant finding as many people think that back pain is not life-threatening", Ass Prof Ferreira said.

In the past most patients with back pain were prescribed some form of painkiller.

This study follows previous research which found that people with depression are 60 per cent more likely to develop low back pain in their lifetime. "Spinal pain may be part of a pattern of poor health and poor functional ability, which increases mortality risk in the older population".

Back pain, ranked as the highest contributor to disability in the world, normally improves within a few weeks or months.

Regarding the use of medication to deal with back pain, the Sydney Morning Herald cited Ferreira, who believes that they may be more harmful than helpful to sufferers, and that simple encouragement and support to sufferers in an effort to get them physically active is a useful tool in dealing with the condition. They found that people with spinal pain are at a 13 per cent higher chance of dying every year.

Given the shocking implication that back pain could kill in an indirect manner as a marker of a shorter lifespan, Ferreira stressed that people shouldn't panic, and that the objective of his team's study was to underscore the importance of proper back pain treatment, and stopping the condition before it happens.

Ferreira explains that the findings should serve as a warning that back pain is not something that should be taken lightly.

Some of the factors that lead to this change are the effects that back pain has on one's life.

But recent research shows there are actually no effective drugs for the problem, and the only way to treat it is through stretching and exercises.

Surgery and medications are mostly ineffective for treating back pain but simply staying fit and healthy goes a long way.

"And surgery usually does not offer a good outcome so the best treatment for low-back pain is a healthy lifestyle, including physical activity", he said.

  • Joanne Flowers