Here’s why diabetics experience more backaches

According to a recent study, people with diabetes are more likely to suffer from low backache and neck pain as compared to those without diabetes.

The researchers from the University of Sydney found that people with diabetes have a 35 per cent higher risk of experiencing low back pain and 24 per cent higher risk of having neck pain. Their findings, based on meta-analyses of studies that assess the links between diabetes and back or neck pain outcomes, were published inthe journal ‘PLOS ONE’.

Most adults experience low back pain during their lives and almost half suffer neck pain at some stage. Diabetes is an increasingly prevalent chronic condition. An estimated 382 million people live with type 2 diabetes, the most common form of this metabolic disease.

“Diabetes and low back pain and neck pain seem to be somehow connected. We can’t say how but these findings suggest further research into the link is warranted,” said senior study author Manuela Ferreira.

However, the reason behind the pain is not fully established, the researchers stated. The team conducted a meta-analysis and included eight studies.

The analysis also showed that Type 2 diabetes and low back pain are linked to obesity and lack of physical activity.

“Type 2 diabetes and low back pain both have a strong relationship with obesity and lack of physical activity, so a logical progression of this research might be to examine these factors in more detail. Our analysis adds to the evidence that weight control and physical activity play fundamental roles in health maintenance,” Ferreira added.

The study also found that diabetes medication could influence pain, possibly via its effect on blood glucose levels, and this connection should also be investigated. It also recommended health care professionals should consider screening for unknown diabetes in patients seeking care for neck pain or low back pain.

“Neck and back pain, and diabetes, are afflicting more and more people. It’s worth committing more resources to investigate their interrelationship. It may be that altering treatment interventions for diabetes could reduce the incidence of back pain, and vice versa,” concluded co-author Paulo Ferreira.

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First Published:
Feb 24, 2019 13:33 IST

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