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This Seemingly Harmless Pain Could Be A Sign Of Early Death

Medical Daily logo Medical Daily 04-06-2017 Dana Dovey

© Shutterstock New research has found an alarming "clear link" between back pain and dying earlier in life.

As if you needed something else to worry about, a new study now suggests that your seemingly harmless back pain could be a sign of something far worse: early death. According to the study conducted by researchers from the University of Sydney, there is a “clear link” between back pain and early mortality, although they aren’t yet sure why. 

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. According to the researchers, this finding is significant as many view back pain as harmless and nothing more than a slight inconvenience.These results suggest otherwise.

Read:Is Yoga For Lower Back Pain Backed By Science?

“These findings warrant further investigation because while there is a clear link between back pain and mortality we don't know yet why this is so,” explained study author Dr. Paulo Ferreria, in a recent statement. “Spinal pain may be part of a pattern of poor health and poor functional ability, which increases mortality risk in the older population.”

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For the research, the team looked at rates of back pain and age of death in 4,390 twins over the age of 70. Results showed a clear link between the two, suggesting that recurrent back pain was a sign of something more. This finding may have important implications, as The Daily Mail reported that back pain affects four in five people at some point in their lifetime and about half of these cases see a recurrence of the problem within a year.

This is not the first time that a seemingly non-fatal condition in elderly patients can actually be a sign of early death. For example, past research has shown that elderly women who break their hips are at increased risk of dying within a year of the injury. Most research suggests that it is the underlying poor health that leads to the injury, and not the injury itself that leads to early death.

The team hope that better understanding the link between back pain and early death will lead to better intervention methods for those most at risk.

"Back pain should be recognised as an important co-morbidity that is likely to impact people's longevity and quality of life," explained lead researcher Matthew Fernandez in a recent statement.

Source: Fernandez M, Boyle E, Hartvigsen J, et al. Is this back pain killing me? All-cause and cardiovascular-specific mortality in older Danish twins with spinal pain. European Journal of Pain . 2017


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