Back Pain May Make Knee Problems Worse, Study Suggests

Author: Marissa Luck

If you’ve got knee pain with an occasional aching back, recent research suggests you may want to take care of that back pain sooner rather than later. A new study found that patients with back pain undergoing knee replacement surgery had poorer outcomes two years after surgery compared to patients without back pain.

The study showed that patients with low back pain had Oxford Knee Scores that were 5 points lower on average compared to those without back pain, and they also scored 6 points lower for overall physical health. Patients with low back pain were also more likely to require revision surgery.

In contrast, other musculoskeletal disorders, like hip and ankle problems, did not affect post-surgery outcomes. The researchers did not know whether this difference was because back pain was more disabling than hip and ankle problems, or because patients with back pain have a higher sensitivity to pain. They suggested that patients who are candidates for knee surgery be informed that their chances of full recovery are lower if they also suffer from back pain.

Chiropractors can provide safe, non-invasive treatments for both back and knee pain. Research has suggested that chiropractic care and targeted exercises are effective for relieving knee arthritis and a number of problems causing back pain.