Brittle Bones to Blame for Back Pain

Suffering from back pain? Blame it on your bones. A new study showed that people with low bone mineral density have a higher risk of back pain compared to healthier individuals.

Earlier research on bone mineral density (BMD) and back pain has been inconclusive. To clarify this potential link, researchers from the University of Kuwait evaluated BMD in 171 patients with low-back pain, and compared those results to a database of 507 healthy controls.

They found that people with low-back pain had significantly lower spine and hip T-scores as well as reduced BMD in the hip and spine. These differences were significant regardless of age, gender, weight, or menopausal status. People at-risk of low BMD and low-back pain included adults over the age of 60, post-menopausal women, normal weight individuals, and males.

Interestingly, obesity was found to have a protective effect on bone mineral density, and obese individuals were no more likely to exhibit back pain than normal weight participants in this study. However more research is needed to confirm these results since earlier research has demonstrated a link between back pain and obesity.

Researchers concluded that chronic low back pain has a strong negative correlation with low BMD. Lower bone mineral density can also increase your risk of other musculoskeletal concerns like hip fractures and osteoporosis.

The findings suggest that patients with low-back pain could benefit from efforts to improve bone mineral density through vitamin supplementation and weight-bearing activities. A doctor of chiropractic can advise you on using nutrition and exercise to improve bone health, and provide you with effective treatments to prevent and relieve back pain.


Al-Saeed O. Evaluation of bone mineral density in patients with chronic low back pain. Asian Spine Journal 2013; 7(2): 104-110. doi 10.4184/asj.2013.7.2.104.