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Stem Cell Therapy for Degenerative Disc Disease

mesenchymal stem cells

Mesenchymal stem cells could promote repair in cases of degenerative disc disease and lower back pain.

A study is underway and recruiting participants in order to assess the use of stem cells for lumbar back pain caused by degenerative disc disease. Chronic lower back pain is one of the most common reasons for visits to the doctor and often this is due to degenerative disc disease, bulging discs, disc herniation, and/or spinal stenosis. This stem cell trial (NCT01290367), sponsored by Mesoblast Ltd., aims to establish the safety and possible efficacy of using stem cell therapy for lower back pain and could represent a revolutionary new approach to treating a common ailment that costs billions each year. Unfortunately, patients with severe spinal stenosis are not eligible for the trial but it could be that success in this early study encourages others to conduct trials looking at stem cell therapy for spinal stenosis. Continue reading “Stem Cell Therapy for Degenerative Disc Disease” »

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Why Back Pain Costs Billions Each Year

back surgery costs

The costs of back pain quickly stack up - lost earnings, lost productivity, pain relief costs, back surgery... amounting to millions each year.

Back pain costs an estimated $7.4 billion a year for companies in lost productivity, just accounting for employees between 40 and 65 years of age. With an ageing population in many countries, and an increased incidence in spinal stenosis from wear and tear, the cost of back pain may simply carry on rising. The figure cited by the Institute of Medicine puts lost productivity costs to business for all workers at $297.4 billion to $335.5 billion for 2010, based on work-days missed, hours of work missed, and lower wages. Those working on computers the majority of the time are more likely to experience low back pain due to postural problems, so one way to reduce back pain costs could be to make the use of automated on-screen prompts, or even arm-band technology, to remind workers to adopt good posture to avoid low back pain. Researchers in the UK are also looking at ways of reducing the cost of back pain to the NHS, with recent studies into the STarT back pain screening tool offering promising results. Continue reading “Why Back Pain Costs Billions Each Year” »

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Spinal Cord Injury Pain Responds Well to Pregabalin in Pfizer’s Trial

spinal stenosis spinal cord injury pregabalin lyrica treatmentSpinal cord injury pain is relieved by pregabalin according to new research which suggests that the anticonvulsant, known under the brand name Lyrica (Pfizer), could fill a treatment gap for patients with this difficult condition. The neuropathic pain associated with spinal cord injury (SCI) is notoriously hard to treat meaning that this news is being welcomed by physicians and patients alike. Spinal cord injury may occur in cases of acute trauma but can also result from chronic conditions such as spinal stenosis which go untreated and may cause permanent spinal cord injury through acute disc herniation or spinal slippage. What can patients expect if prescribed Lyrica for spinal cord injury pain, and are there side-effects with this medication? Continue reading “Spinal Cord Injury Pain Responds Well to Pregabalin in Pfizer’s Trial” »

Spinal Stenosis Treatment – Exploring Your Options

Spinal Stenosis TreatmentOnce your doctor has confirmed that you have spinal stenosis, questions about your treatment options are probably the first thing to come to mind. Are there any treatments that will help relieve your pain? Will you need surgery? First, you should know that surgery to treat spinal stenosis is relatively rare and is reserved for a small percentage of patients with the condition. Second, your doctor will most likely recommend a regimen of conservative (nonsurgical) treatments to help mitigate your symptoms based on their location, frequency, and intensity, as well as your age and overall health. In the majority of cases, conservative spinal stenosis treatment is enough to relieve symptoms and help the patient return to a high quality of life.

Continue reading “Spinal Stenosis Treatment – Exploring Your Options” »

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Spinal Stenosis Symptoms – Can You Identify Your Discomfort?

Spinal stenosis symptoms Spinal stenosis symptomsare fairly easy for a spine specialist to recognize,
but for your doctor to accurately diagnose you, explaining your symptoms in as much detail as possible can be incredibly helpful. Symptoms typically arise in response to some form of nerve compression, with pressure placed on either the spinal cord or one of its nerve roots. Nerve compression can be caused by many other anatomical abnormalities in the spine, so carefully documenting your exact symptoms is essential in helping determine the cause of the stenosis, or narrowing, within your spinal column. Continue reading “Spinal Stenosis Symptoms – Can You Identify Your Discomfort?” »

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Scoliosis in Children – Causes of Back Pain in Kids

scoliosis and back pain in childrenScoliosis can cause back pain in children, infants, and adults and is a condition where the spinal curvature becomes abnormal leading, potentially, to breathing problems, pain, spinal stenosis, and abnormal posture. Many cases of scoliosis in children are mild and remain asymptomatic but other cases can become severe and debilitating.

Whilst scoliosis is not a common cause of back pain in kids, the back condition may require surgery, use of a scoliosis back brace, or other intervention to correct the abnormality. The underlying pathology of scoliosis in children can include spondylolysis, spondylolisthesis, Scheuermann kyphosis, disc herniation, or hydromyelia, although many cases of childhood scoliosis have no known cause and are referred to as idiopathic scoliosis. Continue reading “Scoliosis in Children – Causes of Back Pain in Kids” »