Public health

Back pain not all the same

Thursday, 26 Nov 2015


Different types of low back pain could be used to identify women who have vertebral fractures, researchers say.

The research team from The University of Bristol in the UK enrolled 197 women aged 60 years or older who had undergone a spinal radiography scan in the previous three months.

They discovered that the radiographs of people with fractures were more likely to show moderate or severe degenerative change than those without.

These patients were more likely to describe their pain as crushing, as well as improving when lying down and that did not spread down the legs.

“We present the first evidence that back pain experienced by women with osteoporotic vertebral fracture is different to back pain related solely to degenerative change,” the researchers concluded in their study published in Osteoporosis International.

“Research that reveals a way of distinguishing between the types of back pain shows great potential for improving patient care, which will allow patients to get the treatment that is most likely to benefit them,” they added.

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