Back Pain Shortens Life Span

Back pain is not confined to localised aches and pains but could lead to early death.Back pain

Associate Professor Paulo Ferreira of University of Sydney has found that people with a history of back pain had a substantially higher chance of dying prematurely compared to others.

In research that scrutinised 4,000 twins in Denmark, researchers examined whether there was any link between back (and/or neck) pain and mortality. This research is important for showing the life-limiting effects of ongoing pain on the whole body.

"What we found is that people who have symptoms of back pain — and that includes lower back plus or minus neck pain — have a 13 per cent more chance of dying compared to those who don't have any symptoms in their lumbar spine, reported Dr Ferreira."

Michael Bates from the Australian Pain Management Association (APMA) stated that “many people with chronic back pain are often battling to cope and complete their day-to-day duties.”

However, it isn’t only at an individual and family level, back pain burdens the whole health system.

"We've got one in five people suffering from persistent pain and this adds enormous stress on the healthcare system," Mr Bates said.

"There is no doubt that if we can get more resources into chronic pain then it will reduce the burden on the healthcare system”, he emphasised.

Dr Ferreira found that patients are able to improve their situation. "Even if you develop back pain and you are physically active, your prognosis is going to be much better as well, compared to those who just decide to stay at home and lie in bed."

APMA supports numerous people with back pain to stay active and learn further strategies to improve their health status.


The Australian Pain Management Association Ltd. (APMA) is a health promotion charity providing advocacy, information and practical support for people living with chronic (persistent) pain and their families. APMA is the consumer health organisation for all Australians who live with pain. APMA is your voice.


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