MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Just about everyone has back pain now and then, but, according to recent research, the back pain people suffer from now, could possibly indicate more back troubles to come.
According to a study printed in the Journal of Pain, severe, short-term back pain could be a forerunner to long-term pain and disability.
“Your body just gets old. Things get old, your spine gets old. The lubrication of the joints and all that,” said neurologist Dr. Jack Wilberger. “If you have it now it’s probably gonna come up again. We sort of nip it in the butt, so to speak. Hopefully we don’t have any long term issues.”
The study followed after nearly 500 people who were treated for low back pain answered questionnaires every six months for a period of five years.
People with high pain levels at the start had a 12 percent higher risk of back pain at six months, nine percent higher risk at five years.
“This is the type of information that we really need to have particularly in a preventative way,” said Dr. Wilberger.
Short-term low back pain isn’t necessarily due to a disc being out of place, but rather inflammation in the joints from stress and strain. The customary approach is short-term treatment of the inflammation, but as the study suggests, long-term monitoring may be helpful.
Short-term treatment includes rest and anti-inflammatory medication.
Long-term includes weight loss, exercise to maintain good muscle tone along the spine, not smoking and good lifting technique with your legs muscles and not your back muscles can be ways to keep pain away.
Keeping a bright outlook may help, too.
In the study, those who believed they would have persistent pain had a four percent higher risk at six months and a six percent higher risk at five years.
“There may be a secondary reason that they need to have low back pain, so to speak. Because it impacts a number of different areas of life, especially work,” said Dr. Wilberger.