Antibiotics for back pain, be careful about what you read says Men’s Journal
Many of you may have read the articles about antibiotics for treating lower back pain. Lower back problems in most cases are mechanical in nature, and so is the mechanism behind damaged discs in the lower back. The concern from this study is that doctors may misinterpret the study, or perhaps it may be exploited by the drug rep’s when they explain the benefits of the medications they sell to your local healthcare provider. For those looking for the most effective conservative care for your aching back, look no further than your local chiropractor for safe, and knowledgeable care.
There is however something to this study, and a theory that is behind it. It turns out that Propionibacterium acnes has shown up in the spines of a certain percentage of people that required disc surgery. It was from this finding that the idea of back patients and antibiotics as a curative agent.
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Antibiotics for Your Back Pain?
Research on back pain antibiotics.
Could millions of Americans finally find relief for chronic lower back pain simply through a cheap course of antibiotics? That’s the shocking takeaway from two studies appearing in the recent issue of ‘European Spine Journal.’ Doctors caution, however, that this possibly revolutionary approach, although promising, needs further vetting. “When you get something that’s pretty radical – and this is radical – you want to make sure it’s correct and proper before applying it to patients,” says Dr. Jeffrey Fischgrund, professor of orthopedic surgery at Oakland University at William Beaumont Hospital in Royal Oak, Michigan, who was not involved in the studies.
The research, out of Denmark, focused on the approximately 40 percent of lower back pain sufferers with herniated (slipped) disks as well as spinal bone swelling as seen in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans. Researchers speculated infections might trigger the inflammation. In the first study, 43 percent of herniated disk surgery patients turned out to have Propionibacterium acnes in their spines; 80 percent of these infected patients also developed bone swelling. The bacterium P. acnes resides in hair follicles and gums and circulates in blood. New blood vessels sprouting into slipped disks in an attempt to heal them let the opportunistic bacteria set up shop, the study authors theorized. The second study gauged if antibiotics could help. Patients with MRI-documented bone swelling (though not direct biopsies to confirm infections) received either a 100-day, $180 antibiotic course or placebo; 80 percent on the former reported feeling much better one year later.
The findings made quite the media splash. Many stories in the United Kingdom quoted neurosurgeon Peter Hamlyn, who was not involved in the studies, saying that the researchers “deserved a Nobel prize.” Most outlets overlooked that Hamlyn and lead author Hanne Albert set up a website promoting the study’s therapy, suggesting of a financial conflict of interest.