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

  • Researchers analyzed the causal link between various sleep disturbances – insomnia, short duration of sleep and long sleep duration and daytime sleepiness as well as the lower back lower back pain.

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

  • This theory requires additional studies using more extensive samples.

Lower back discomfort is quite widespread and can affect people of all different ages. According to

The year 2015 Global Burden of Disease Study

, 7.3% of the worldwide population — which is more than 540 million people suffer from lower back pain at any given moment, and this condition is the main reason for disability in the world.

Certain lifestyle aspects are linked with

Higher risk

of lower back of lower back. They can be caused by physically demanding jobs smoking, obesity, smoking and a lack of physical movement.

However, in the majority of instances it’s impossible to pinpoint the reason for low back pain. In a tiny percentage of instances lower back pain is attributed to an injury to the vertebral column or an infection or an inflammation condition.

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


cross-sectional study

The study, which was conducted with 9,611 participants, found that studies conducted among 9,611 participants concluded 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 poor night’s quality sleep could be followed up by a subsequent day that was more painful.

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

Although prior research has revealed that sleep issues are typical among patients suffering from lower back pain However, the causal connection to sleep hygiene and low back pain is not clear.

Researchers from Zhejiang University School of Medicine carried out a study to determine the relationship with sleep disorders and back pain. Their findings are published in Frontiers in Neuroscience.


genome-wide association study

(GWAS) involves analyzing DNA of vast population to find the genes that are associated with specific characteristics.

Professor. Ge Luo and his colleagues gathered self-reported data as well as genetic information from the GWAS comprising 336,965 people of European descent. The data used in the GWAS was sourced directly from UK Biobank -an online database that includes health and genetic information that includes half-a-million people throughout the UK.

To determine the causal connection to sleep disruptions as well as lower back pain Researchers selected people from the GWAS cohort with genetic variations that are associated with the following kinds sleeping disturbances

  • insomnia
  • short sleep duration
  • long sleep duration
  • Sleepiness during the day.

The researchers then employed the method of statistical analysis called

Mendelian randomization

Analyzing the causal link between insomnia-related disorders and the lower back pain.

On the basis of the findings from these analyses scientists concluded there’s an inter-directional causal link that binds insomnia with lower back pain. This implies that insomnia could result in lower back pain and vice versa.

The study also revealed that a genetic susceptibility to sleeping for long or short periods of time didn’t increase the chance of developing lower back pain.

In the end, researchers discovered that a genetic susceptibility to lower back discomfort could increase the likelihood of daytime insomnia, but they did not find no causality in the reverse.

As of now to date, lower back pain has been treated by analgesics. If the theory that insomnia is the cause of the lower back pain is correct and sleep regulators are effective, they could possibly be used to help manage the lower back pain.

Doctor. Jie Sun, a pain specialist at Peking University who has researched the bidirectional relationship between sleep issues and pain, and is not part of this study informed the MNT that the level of certainty about the efficacy of current treatments to treat lower back pain ranges from between moderate and low, and that new solutions are “desperately needed” for those who suffer from sleep disturbances as well as lower back discomfort.

Dr. Sun said he was optimistic that “[u]nderstanding the fundamental mechanisms behind how sleep disturbance is interconnected with chronic pain could result in better-targeted therapy .”

“Dr. Luo’s study suggested a causal link between insomnia and low back pain. This is in line with the meta-analysis study’s results that show a reduction in the quality of sleep and quantity was linked to an increase of two or three times the rise in the risk of developing a pain-related condition,” Dr. Sun explained to us.

“Considering the possibility of a causal link between insomnia and the low back pain, affecting the sleep process or the related pathway may be an alternative way to reduce back pain. back discomfort.”

– Dr. Jie Sun

In their paper they acknowledge that their research had couple of limitations. The first was that the participants in the study were of European descent, which means that these results might not be applicable to different ethnic groups.

Then, the potential impact of pleiotropy -when one gene is responsible for one or more traitsin the end, the results can’t be completely ruled out as they pointed out. The authors also acknowledged that the study didn’t consider all possible forms of sleep disorders.

In addition, as gender plays a role in the likelihood of lower back discomfort, it might be best to determine estimations for the subgroup according to gender stratification, the researchers warned.

When approached by MNT to discuss the research the professor. Christopher G. Maher Professor in the Sydney School of Public Health, University of Sydney, not involved in this study was skeptical, and pointed out some flaws of the study in particular, the fact that “[t]he authors do not define how they assessed the low back discomfort.”

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 is not without its issues in proving causality. These results need to be further validated and further exploration with larger, independent samples in longitudinal design studies. .”