A Relief? Lower Back Pain Unlikely to Mean Cancer

September 30, 2009
Megan Brooks

Your lower back pain may be killing you, but there’s some good news: Such pain is very unlikely to mean serious problems such as broken vertebrae or cancer, according to a study by Australian researchers.

Dr. Christopher G. Maher, from The George Institute of International Health in Sydney, and colleagues studied 1172 patients who came to general practitioners, physical therapists, or chiropractors with a new complaint of lower back pain.

The patients were monitored for 12 months to look for broken bones, infection, arthritis, or cancer was the cause.

“Many people worry that their back pain may be an indicator of something more serious,” Maher noted in an email to Reuters Health. But among all 1,172 patients, only 11 cases were anything serious at all, and eight of those 11 were broken vertebrae. More…