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New Study Found Back Pain May Indicate Early Death

Update Date: Feb 24, 2017 09:10 AM EST

A new study has found that back pain is not just uncomfortable but could also be an indicator of impending death. Australian researchers from the University of Sydney examined the health and death records of thousands of older sets of twin in Denmark. The study was published in the European Journal of Pain.

Scientists recorded death rates of 4,390 Danish twins aging over 70-years-old to determine if there was any link with back pain. Researchers analyzed the data and found those who reported lower back pain had a significantly higher chance of dying sooner than others.

Professor Paulo Ferreira, a physiotherapy researcher at University of Sydney, said back pain was a significant marker of impending mortality. He said "Our study found that compared to those without spinal pain, a person with spinal pain has a 13 per cent higher chance of dying every year."

Surgery and medications are mostly ineffective for treating back pain but simply staying fit and healthy goes a long way. Those who exercise more often will have less chance of developing back pain.

By studying twins it allowed the researchers to rule out the twin's shared genetic factors as a major influence on the result. If one of a pair of identical twins, who share the same genes, died early and the other one did not, inherited genes were unlikely to be the reason.

ABC reported that back pain has cost the economy around $1 billion annually for treatment expenses alone. An estimated 4 million Australians suffer different forms of back pain such as a twinge while bending up to debilitating chronic pain.

The best treatment is a healthy lifestyle but physical activity is not always an option for all back pain sufferers according to Michael Bates from the Australian Pain Management Association. He said many people with chronic and persistent back pain struggle just with daily tasks. Back pain is the number one cause of disability and affects about 700 million people around the world according to The Sun.

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