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Researchers are investigating the connection with insomnia as well as lower back pain. Image credit Marc Bordons/Stocksy.

  • Researchers analyzed the causal connection between different sleep disorders such as insomnia, short duration of sleep as well as long duration sleep and daytime sleepiness as well as the lower back discomfort.

  • The results suggest that insomnia can cause lower back pain , and vice the reverse.

  • This theory requires additional studies using larger samples.

Lower back discomfort is quite widespread and can affect people of all age groups. According to

2015. Global Burden of Disease Study

, 7.3% of the world’s population, or more than 540 million people have lower back discomfort at any given time. This symptom is the most common reason for disability across the globe.

Certain lifestyle aspects are associated with

Higher risk

of lower back of lower back. This includes physically demanding work smoking, obesity, smoking and a lack of physical exercise.

In the majority of cases it’s not possible to pinpoint the root of low back pain. In a tiny percentage of instances lower back pain could be due to an injury to the vertebral column or infection, or an inflammation condition.

Numerous studies have demonstrated that poor quality sleep and lower back pain are closely linked.


cross-sectional study

The study, which was conducted with 9,611 participants, discovered that research conducted on 9,611 people found that lower back discomfort is linked with the short duration of sleep and low quality of sleep.


Another study

Researchers evaluated sleep quality and intensity of pain in 80 patients suffering from patients suffering from lower back pain, researchers assessed sleep quality and intensity in 80 patients with lower back. They found that a night with poor sleep would be followed by an subsequent day that was more painful.

In addition the day that had higher intensity of pain was correlated with a lower following night’s sleep quality which suggests a bidirectional connection between quality of sleep and intensity of pain in patients suffering from lower back pain.

While previous research has demonstrated that poor quality sleep is prevalent in people suffering from lower back pain The causal link to sleep hygiene and low back pain is not clear.

Researchers at Zhejiang University School of Medicine conducted a study that examined the relationship of sleep disruptions with lower back pain. Their findings are published in Frontiers in Neuroscience.


genome-wide association study

(GWAS) involves analyzing the DNA material from a vast variety of individuals to discover the genes that are associated with specific characteristics.

The researcher Dr. Ge Luo and his colleagues collected self-reported information and genetic information from an GWAS comprising 336,965 people of European descent. The information for the GWAS was sourced via the UK Biobank — a database that contains health and genetic information that includes half-a-million of people throughout the UK.

To examine the causal link with sleep disorders and low back pain The researchers selected people from the GWAS cohort with genetic variants that were associated with the following kinds sleeping disturbances

  • insomnia
  • short sleep duration
  • long sleep duration
  • Daytime sleepiness.

Researchers then applied the method of statistical analysis that is known as

Mendelian randomization

Analyzing the causal link between sleep disorders and analysis to determine the causal link between different sleep disturbances and lower back pain.

In the findings from these analyses they concluded there’s bidirectional causality with insomnia as well as lower back pain. This means that insomnia may be the cause of lower back pain and vice versa.

The researchers also discovered that a genetic susceptibility to either a long or short sleep time was not associated with an increase in the chance of developing lower back discomfort.

The researchers also discovered that a genetic susceptibility to lower back discomfort could increase the likelihood of daytime sleepiness, however they discovered no reverse causal link.

At present to date, lower back pain has been treated primarily with analgesics. If the theory that insomnia is the cause of back pain in the lower back pain is correct and sleep regulators are effective, they could possibly be utilized to treat back pain. back pain.

Doctor. Jie Sun, a pain doctor at Peking University, who has studied the bidirectional connections between sleep disorders and pain, but not part of this study informed the MNT that the certainty of the efficacy of current treatments to treat lower back pain ranges from lower to medium, and new treatment options are “desperately needed” for those who suffer from sleep disturbances as well as lower back pain.

Dr. Sun expressed confidence that “[u]nderstanding the fundamental mechanisms of how sleep disturbance is interconnected with chronic pain could help in better-directed therapy .”

“Dr. Luo’s work suggested a causal link between insomnia and low back pain. This is in line with the meta-analysis of studies that have been conducted over time’s results that show a decrease in quality of sleep and quantity was linked to an increase of two or three times the rise in the risk of developing a chronic pain disorder,” Dr. Sun explained to us.

“Considering the possibility of causality between insomnia and the low back pain, disrupting sleep or a related pathway could be a viable option to reduce back pain. back painfulness.”

– Dr. Jie Sun

In the report the authors acknowledged that their research had some limitations. First, the participants in the study were of European origin, so these results might not be the same for different ethnic groups.

Then, the potential impact of pleiotropy -when one gene affects the traits of two or more -in the end, the results cannot be completely ruled out as they pointed out. The authors also acknowledged that their study did not include the various possible causes of sleep disorders.

Also, as gender is a factor in the likelihood of lower back discomfort, it might be better to determine estimates within the subgroup according to gender stratification, they warned.

When approached by MNT to discuss the research Professor. Christopher G. Maher Professor of the Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, not involved in the study however, expressed some doubts and pointed out some flaws of the study in particular, the fact that “[t]he authors do not describe how they measured lower back the pain.”

As per Dr. Sun’s view, “the [large number] of genetic cases as well as the rigor in the analysis of statistical data render the conclusion extremely stifling.”

She also said that “[M]endelian randomization does have some methodological limitations when it comes to proving causal relationships. These results require more validation and investigation by using larger, independent samples for longitudinal design studies. .”