Frequent Back Pain In Older Women Can Be A Harbinger Of Premature Death

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Frequent Back Pain In Older Women Can Be A Harbinger Of Premature Death
Frequent Back Pain In Older Women Can Be A Harbinger Of Premature Death

Video: Frequent Back Pain In Older Women Can Be A Harbinger Of Premature Death

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Frequent back pain in older women can be a harbinger of premature death

Difficulty performing certain daily activities, such as walking short distances or preparing food, accounts for nearly half of deaths following frequent and persistent back pain.

Frequent back pain in older women can be a harbinger of premature death
Frequent back pain in older women can be a harbinger of premature death

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Frequent and recurring back pain is associated with premature death in older women, researchers at Boston Medical Center have found. Their scientific work was published in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

The study involved more than 8,000 elderly women, followed by an average of about 14 years. The researchers concluded that women who reported frequent or persistent back pain had a 24% higher risk of death compared to women who did not have back pain.

Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and women in their 40s and 80s are most likely to complain of it. In general, women are more likely than men to report frequent and debilitating back pain.

“The results of our study raise questions about whether better back pain treatment can prevent disability, improve quality of life, and ultimately prolong life,” said study lead author Eric Roseen at Boston Medical Center.

After examining the causes of back pain, the researchers then re-examined the participants two years later and analyzed the causes of back pain. Four years later, the study participants were again interviewed while observing their daily life. The researchers found that disability resulting from back pain mainly explains the subsequent association of pain with mortality.

In particular, difficulty in performing certain daily activities, such as walking short distances or preparing food, accounts for almost half (47%) of deaths from frequent and persistent back pain. Slow performance of everyday functions (speed of movement or the frequency of getting up from a chair) explained this connection in about a quarter of cases (27% and 24%, respectively). Of the 8321 women who participated in the study, a total of 56% died during the follow-up period, that is, for 14.1 years. At the same time, of those who complained of back pain, 68.5% died, and of those who did not have such pain, 53.5%.

Although the study's findings are consistent with previous studies that found an association between back pain in older women and an increased risk of death, the reason for this association was still unclear.

“Back pain can directly interfere with a person's daily activities - older people may try to avoid daily activities for fear of injury or worsening symptoms. The inability to perform or the desire to avoid performing everyday life functions can lead to weight gain, the development or progression of other chronic diseases and, ultimately, to premature death,”says Rosin.

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