Back pain increases the chances of early death, Australian study finds


Back pain is not just uncomfortable but it also serves as an indicator of early death, new study claims.

A team of Australian researchers studied the health and death records of thousands of twins in Denmark.

They noticed that those suffering from lower back pain shown a significantly high risk of early death than others.

Associate Professor Paulo Ferreira, a physiotherapy researcher at the University of Sydney, said back pain does not lead to death but is an indicator of impending mortality.

Dr. Ferreira said: “We analyzed the health related data of 4,000 twins to establish the relationship between the back pain and mortality rates.”

“According to the observation, people who have symptoms of back pain including lower back plus or minus neck pain showed 13 per cent more chance of dying in comparison to those who did not have any symptoms in their lumbar spine.” Every year there is 13 per cent increase in mortality rate due to back pain.

As surgery and medications are not much effective for releasing back pain, staying fit and healthy will have long-term benefits.

“Physical exercise plays an important role to significantly lower the chances of developing back pain.

“Even if you are suffering from back pain and you exercise daily, your medical prognosis is going to be much better compared to those who are physically inactive.”

About 4 million Australians suffer from some form of back pain, from a twinge while bending up to debilitating chronic pain.

Michael Bates from the Australian Pain Management Association (APMA) said many people suffering from chronic or persistent pain cannot even perform day-to-day activities.

APMA has said additional government funding is necessary for the area of chronic pain.

Mr. Bates said good funding could have long-lasting benefits for the whole Australia’s healthcare network.

“It is pretty sure that if we can put in more resources and facilities to improve chronic pain problem we can reduce the burden on the entire healthcare system.”

The University of Sydney’s research study is published in the European Journal of Pain.