Diabetes and low back pain

Low back pain (LBP) is a common disorder involving the muscles, nerves, and bones of the back. Pain can vary from a dull constant ache to a sudden sharp feeling. Low back pain may be classified by duration as acute (pain lasting less than 6 weeks), sub-chronic (6 to 12 weeks); or chronic (more than 12 weeks). The condition may further classified by the underlying cause as either mechanical, non-mechanical, or referred pain.
Diabetes mellitus (DM), commonly referred to as diabetes; is a group of metabolic disorders in which there are high blood sugar levels over a prolonged period. Symptoms of high blood sugar include frequent urination, increased thirst, and increased hunger. If left untreated, diabetes can cause many complications. Acute complications can include diabetic ketoacidosis, hyperosmolar hyperglycemic state, or death.

Experiencing low back pain

People with diabetes have a 35 % higher risk of experiencing low back pain and a 24 % higher risk of having neck pain than those without diabetes; a review by University of Sydney researchers has found. Their findings, based on meta-analyses of studies that assess the links between diabetes and back or neck pain outcomes; were published today in 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. There was insufficient evidence in the review to establish a causal relationship between diabetes and back or neck pain; the paper’s senior author Associate Professor Manuela Ferreira from the University’s Institute of Bone and Joint Research said. But the findings warrant further investigation of the association.

Diabetes and low back pain and neck pain

“Diabetes and low back pain and neck pain seem to somehow connected. They can not say how but these findings suggest further research into the link is warranted,” Associate Professor Ferreira said. “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.
The paper also found diabetes medication could influence pain; possibly via its effect on blood glucose levels; and this connection should also 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 that altering treatment interventions for diabetes could reduce the incidence of back pain, and vice versa.”