Back and neck pain are common complaints among adults of all ages. Typically, we associate spinal pain with injury or age-related degeneration of the joints and muscles in the body. Rarely do we correlate chronic neck or back pain with general health conditions like diabetes. According to recent research out of Australia, we may have reason to.
In their study, researchers from the University of Sydney analyzed data from a large group of patients to prove or rule out a causal relationship between diabetes and spinal pain. While no causal relationship could be proven, researchers did find a direct correlation. Study analysis showed that diabetic patients were 35 percent more likely to experience low back pain and 24 percent more likely to experience neck pain than study participants who did not have diabetes.
The Value of Research
Research such as this provides us with valuable information because it helps us better understand the potential for far-reaching effects from a singular health condition. Back pain and diabetes are both reported by a vast number of people. It has been estimated that over 375 million people are affected b type 2 diabetes. Acute or chronic back pain is believed to be experienced by more than 90 percent of the population at some point.
While researchers could not come to a definitive conclusion about the relationship between diabetes and spinal pain, they did suggest that further studies are needed to explore the connection they did find between the two conditions. One theory is that both type 2 diabetes and low back pain are strongly related to obesity and sedentary lifestyle. Study authors suggested that, based on their analysis, physical activity and weight management are critical aspects of overall health and wellness.
There are several strategies for reducing the risk of type 2 diabetes, obesity, and the secondary conditions that go along with them, including back pain. These include minimizing excessive carbohydrates and sugar in food, exercising every day (even a thirty-minute walk is beneficial), limiting alcohol intake, and talking with a medical doctor about health risks based on family history and lifestyle habits. Of course, it is also advantageous to arrange a medical evaluation for frequent or chronic back or neck pain.
Often, spinal pain can be addressed without surgery. However, early diagnosis and intervention are necessary to avoid prolonged aggravation to the spinal joints.