Living with back pain can feel like torture.
People who deal with pain day in and day out may even feel like it’s killing them.
But can it?
Past studies have shown a connection between back pain and early death. The newest saw a correlation with premature death and back pain possibly involving a cardiovascular component.
So to suffice, the answer is a little confusing…
What does back pain have to do with dying early?
Back pain is one of the most common conditions, attacking hundreds of millions of people worldwide. And according to research, you have an 84 percent chance of suffering from it at some point in your life, with 23 percent living in chronic, seemingly unending pain.
Why? Studies show that chronic back pain remains highly resistant to treatment.
But even if it feels like you’re going to die from the pain, what is the connection between back pain and early death?
Professor Paulo Ferreira, a physiotherapy researcher at Australia’s University of Sydney, compared the cardiovascular mortality rates of 4,390 Danish twins 70 years old and above. He found that back pain sufferers were 13 percent more likely to die prematurely.
But the research couldn’t tie pain directly to a cardiovascular death. Instead, the researchers believe that the pain may be a warning of poor health or an underlying condition in another area of your body that could eventually lead to a heart attack or other heart-related death.
“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. Spinal pain may be part of a pattern of poor health and poor functional ability, which increases mortality risk in the older population,” Ferreira said.
Thinking about back pain differently
This makes it more important than ever to listen to what your body is trying to tell you. It also means your doctor should as well…
“With a rapidly growing aging population, spinal health is critical in maintaining older age independence, highlighting the importance of spinal pain in primary health care as a presenting symptom,” said Dr. Matthew Hernandez, who assisted Ferreira with the study.
So, if you have a doctor who isn’t listening to your complaints about pain, it may be time to find a new one. But also be wary of drugs as treatment, especially opioids.
According to Dr. Ferreira, “Medications are mostly ineffective, surgery usually does not offer a good outcome — the best treatment for low back pain is a healthy lifestyle, including physical activity. People need to get moving,”
In fact, some of the most effective relief from back pain can be found in:
- Physical activity – Getting moving can help relieve back pain while combatting the health problems that come with a sedentary lifestyle.
- Cognitive therapy – In a previous study led by Prof. Ferreira, depression sufferers were 60 percent more likely to develop low back pain. Some studies have demonstrated the ability of cognitive therapies to provide back pain relief by addressing the mental and emotional underpinnings of the pain.
- Chiropractic care – Chiropractors are back pain specialists who focus on caring for your spine to help you find the relief you need. When you see a chiropractor, your visit can include a thorough exam, spinal adjustment, additional therapies such as electrical stimulation, ultrasound and massage, and even therapeutic exercise recommendations to get you on the road to wellness more quickly.
- Yoga – The stretching, relaxation and mindfulness that combine to make up yoga has shown effective in easing moderate to severe low back pain.
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Back Pain Linked To Premature Death, Study Finds – Study Finds
Promising trial of cognitive functional therapy for low back pain – PainScience.com