Study: Women with disabling back pain face increased risk of death
A study from the Cambridge City over-75s Cohort suggests that disabling back pain puts women in their 70s at an increased risk of death.
The researchers, led by Rachael Docking, say these findings confirm those from other studies of working age people, indicating a relationship between back pain and increased mortality.
They also present new data to suggest this association may be limited to disabling pain that is specific to women.
Comprehensive data on back pain and the degree to which it affected daily life for 1174 participants, who were at least 75 years of age ,was collected.
Back pain was considered disabling if it had interfered with daily tasks within the preceding month.
The average age of the participants was 85 years and 65% female. Participants answered interviewer-administered questions on back pain and were followed up until death.
The date of death was known for 1158 participants, with 15 known to be still living and one un-trackable since moving abroad.
The relationship between back pain and mortality was examined using Cox regression and was adjusted for potential confounding factors. Separate models were computed for men and women.
A significant association was found between disabling pain and mortality. Further, this association was found to vary with sex: women experienced a 40% increase in the risk of mortality associated with disabling back pain (1.4; 1.1–1.9), whereas no such increase was observed for men (1.0; 0.5–1.9). Participants with non-disabling back pain were not at increased risk of mortality.
In the European Journal of Pain, the researchers made note, “[That] chronic or disabling pain may be aetiologically different between men and women.”
They suggest that patients with disabling or chronic pain may have lifestyles characterized by factors that could increase the risk of death, such as lower levels of physical activity, manual work, or poor diet.
Further research needs to be done to investigate the mechanisms underlying the relationship between pain and mortality, as well as to examine the specific conditions causing disabling back pain for secondary prevention.
Help your body function at its best-Drink lots of water, eat well, keep in motion, get adjusted and make sure you get regular spinal maintenance care (just like your car!)