BACK pain could be prevented by getting a good night’s sleep.
Scientists have discovered our spinal discs have a 24-hour clock that, when malfunctioning, can trigger aches.
The finding may mean night workers are more prone to back complaints.
Ageing and inflammation are major causes of disc degeneration.
The study showed both can also cause the body clock — circadian rhythm — to malfunction.
The team from Manchester University said a good sleep at night will help protect the clock and alleviate age-related issues.
They also say people should avoid working at night or to work fixed hours rather than a rotating shift pattern to combat the issue.
Dr Qing-Jun Meng said: “Our research shows this system is regulated by our internal body clock. When it ceases to work properly lower back pain is more likely to become an issue. Looking after your body clock will help manage or delay the onset of your back pain.”
Tests on genetically-engineered mice and human disc samples also found taking medication at the right time of day is vital in relieving the pain.
Dr Natalie Carter said: “Many people find that their symptoms get worse at certain times of the day and the results of this study reveal a likely biological basis to this effect.”
The information could be used to improve treatments and pain relief for people affected by frequent back pain.
Past research has linked body clock issues with cancer, heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
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