Back pain affects around 700 million people worldwide, and is the leading global cause of disability.
A new study published in the European Journal of Pain looked at over 4000 older-adults over 70 years old. The study accounted for familial factors such as genetics before presenting their results.
The primary investigator and lead author of the study, Dr. Paulo Ferriera, and his team found that those who suffered from back pain had a 13 percent greater risk of dying from any cause, including cardiovascular mortality.
“Our study found that compared to those without spinal pain (back and neck), a person with spinal pain has a 13 per cent higher chance of dying every year. This is a significant finding as many people think that back pain is not life-threatening.”
Recent research on the topic has unfortunately found that common forms of treatment such as prescribed medication and surgery are usually ineffective in treating back pain and its related symptoms.
With back health also being an important factor in keeping independence later in life, the researchers suggest that a healthy lifestyle with ample physical activity is the cure, stressing that ‘people need to get moving’.
Ferreira concludes with,
“Back pain should be recognised as an important co-morbidity that is likely to impact people’s longevity and quality of life.”