Houston Methodist. Leading Medicine

Lower Spine News

Impact of Low Back Problems on General Health

Studies show that low back pain is a common problem in the United States. Lumbar spine disorders can be as disabling as chronic medical diseases. In this report doctors look at the impact of four lumbar spine disorders on the health status of adults ages 30 to 56 years old.

Patients had one of these four common lumbar spine disorders. The authors described cause and effect of each one:
  • Herniated lumbar disc
  • Disc degeneration
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Degenerative spondylolisthesis

    Over 4,400 patients from 28 spine centers were included. Each one filled out a survey with questions about health, function, and disability. Scores were evaluated on the basis of diagnosis and age. The patients were divided into three age groups (less than 40 years old, 40 to 60 years old, and more than 60 years old). The results were compared to adults in the same age groups with other health problems.

    The authors report younger patients seem the most affected by lumbar spine disorders. They have less energy and more fatigue than older patients. They are more likely to have a herniated disc as the cause of their low back pain.

    Overall, patients with any of the four lumbar spine disorders in this study had better mental health but worse physical health when compared to patients with cancer, depression, AIDs, or other problems.

    Michael A. Pahl, MD, et al. The Impact of Four Common Lumbar Spine Diagnoses Upon Overall Health Status. In The Spine Journal. March/April 2006. Vol. 6. No. 2. Pp. 125-130.


    *Disclaimer:* The information contained herein is compiled from a variety of sources. It may not be complete or timely. It does not cover all diseases, physical conditions, ailments or treatments. The information should NOT be used in place of visit with your healthcare provider, nor should you disregard the advice of your health care provider because of any information you read in this topic.
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