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Study finds link between chronic headaches and persistent low back pain

Researchers belonging to the University Of Warwick, United Kingdom, have established a strong link between headaches and backache. Their findings might open up new pathways for effective treatments. The two conditions fall within the top five causes of years lived with disability. The team’s research, which was published in the Journal of Headache and Pain, reviewed 14 studies, along with a range of sample sizes. The smallest study involved 88 participants, whereas the largest one has 404,206 participants. Currently, the conditions are treated distinctly; nonetheless, if the two are connected in any way, it might be beneficial for treating both as a single disorder, which may provide better results.

One type of headache and a specific back pain disorder were in the center of the study, viz., chronic headaches and persistent low back pain. The team examines the definitions of the conditions and describes the former as headaches that happen on most days for a minimum of 3 months, while the latter occurs as pain between the bottom of the rib cage and the buttock creases for the same period.  The review concluded that all studies had a similar positive association between the two conditions, although the odds of experiencing both the conditions differed widely between the studies from being less than twice as likely to eight times as likely. A 2013 German study had found a link between low back pain and both chronic tension-type headaches and chronic migraine. This made it difficult for the researchers to pool the information in a collated statistical analysis.

Prof. Martin Underwood, Warwick Medical School, says that in most of the studies, they found that the odds were nearly double; either way; it is twice as likely for a person to have one of the conditions in the presence of the other. The researchers are not certain of the potential shared cause, although they do have some theories. Prof. Underwood explains that one of the theories is that there may be an “underpinning biological relationship” in some people suffering from headaches and back pain.


Liam Turdue

Liam is a journalism graduate who spent his intern years at a publishing house in New York. Liam soon landed a job as a sub-editor at the same company. Subsequently he teamed up with his college friends to set up a media site of his own – Adrian manages the entire editorial cycle and provides guidance to the entire team of contributors and authors.

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