Low back pain is already the biggest cause of worldwide disability and with the world’s population getting older there is an increasing need to find better ways to improve back health and prevent pain from conditions such as spinal stenosis. Some 10% of people worldwide complain of low back pain, with those in Western Europe reporting the highest prevalence as here it affects around 15% of people. Regions of North America where average income was high had a relatively low prevalence of low back pain (7.7% for men and women), suggesting that economics influence pain. Continue reading “Low Back Pain Most Common Cause of Disability in the World” »
It’s commonly thought that the weather and joint pain are interconnected somehow, with people claiming to be able to predict storms based on their rheumatism. However, despite these beliefs being widespread, a new case-crossover study out of Australia has concluded that lower back pain isn’t affected by wind, rain, humidity or air pressure, so why do such beliefs persist? Continue reading “Back Pain Unaffected by the Weather, New Review Says” »
A stay in hospital is supposed to help restore us to health but for some patients it can have devastating consequences. Not only can routine surgery, such as common procedures for spinal stenosis, go wrong, hospital-acquired infections have become a major issue in the past few years, especially due to the rise of antibiotic-resistant organisms like methicillin resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA). Now, however, Medicare is rolling out a new system where the worst performing hospitals will be hit with big fines for infections and avoidable injuries. Continue reading “Medicare’s Hospital Fines Could Improve Safety for Back Pain Patients” »
Chronic back pain can lead to chronic painkiller use but it appears that if you live in Alabama you’re more likely to be prescribed opioid drugs than if you live in a northern state. A new analysis carried out by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found that for every 100 Americans there were 82.5 prescriptions written for opioid painkillers in 2012. In Alabama it was 143 scripts per 100 people. Why the disparity, and why should those with chronic back pain care? Continue reading “Hooked On Painkillers – How Some States in the US Are Overcoming Their Nasty Drug Habit” »
Almost everyone suffers from back pain at some point in their life and for many of us this means popping a painkiller or two and just getting on with things. After all, this is the general advice given by physicians, with acetaminophen the first choice for pain relief. However, there is no real evidence base for this recommendation; acetaminophen is simply preferred over non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs because it has a slightly better safety profile. Continue reading “Acetaminophen Probably Won’t Help Your Back Pain, New Study Says” »
Cycling is often a great way for low back pain sufferers to stay active and soak up some sun!
Make hay while the sun shines, or so the saying goes. Spinal stenosis sufferers might want to consider the alternative phrasing of ‘make vitamin D while the sun shines’ as research suggests that a deficiency of vitamin D is linked to increased pain and worse prognosis for spinal stenosis. Interestingly, however, women who undergo back surgery for lumbar spinal stenosis actually enjoyed increased vitamin D levels after their procedure. What’s the link between vitamin D and back pain? Let’s take a look. Continue reading “Vitamin D Deficiency and Spinal Stenosis – Cause or Effect?” »
There are myriad causes of lower back pain but one issue that you might not suspect is prostate cancer. In older men both prostate problems and lower back pain are common and so it can be difficult to determine if one is connected to the other.
Regular check-ups are, of course, recommended and anyone with signs of prostate infection or enlargement should seek medical attention immediately. Continue reading “Lower Back Pain in Men – Is it Time to Check Your Prostate?” »
There are many medications that can be prescribed for neuropathic pain and, unfortunately, such drugs can carry a risk of certain side effects. Gabapentin (Neurontin) is an anti-seizure medication that is approved for use in treating nerve pain and, typically, a doctor will make a judgement call about the risk-benefit ratio for gabapentin for spinal stenosis pain. Continue reading “Side Effects of Gabapentin for Spinal Stenosis Nerve Pain” »
Patients who have chronic kidney disease face increased risk of bone loss, including a loss of bone density in the spine that may contribute to spinal stenosis. Unfortunately, normal tests for bone mineral density (BMD) using dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry (DXA) appears to be unhelpful in determining the risk of osteoporosis and bone loss in the spine, so what’s the alternative and what can patients with CKD do to boost bone health? Continue reading “Chronic Kidney Disease and Bone Loss in the Spine” »