Chronic Back Pain Reduces Brain Size

chronic back pain alters brain structure

Chronic back pain reduced brain size by 5-11% in some sufferers.

Chronic back pain patients suffer more than just pain with a whole raft of recent research finding that persistent pain from conditions can lead to depression, anxiety, sleep disruption, and problems with memory, concentration, and all manner of other emotional and mental health issues. Quality of life can be severely reduced by conditions such as spinal stenosis which cause chronic pain and scientists are beginning to understand how long-term back pain harms the brain. Continue reading “Chronic Back Pain Reduces Brain Size” »


Back Pain in Teens – Self-Medicating and Secrecy

back pain in kids

Are your kids secretly self-medicating their back pain?

A recent report highlights the incidence of pain and the uncontrolled use of pain medications in teens, with back pain in children one of the reasons for often inappropriate use of such drugs. The report by Fouladbakhsh, et al, notes that sex and age appear to influence self-treatment of pain and that teens are often using pain medication without clear medical guidance and without knowledge of side-effects, interactions, or contraindications. In this study 90% of the school children surveyed had experienced pain in the previous two weeks, and many were dealing with this pain without appropriate guidance. Whilst most teens will not have back pain due to spinal stenosis it is possible that this early use of pain medications to mask back pain could store up problems throughout adult life. Continue reading “Back Pain in Teens – Self-Medicating and Secrecy” »

Is It Spinal Stenosis: Neurogenic vs Vascular Claudication

spinal stenosis neurogenic claudication shopping cart sign

What is the 'grocery cart sign'? Could it help diagnose your spinal stenosis?

Lumbar spinal stenosis can cause classic symptoms of neurogenic claudication but sometimes leg pain, numbness, and weakness are signs of circulatory problems and vascular claudication and are unrelated to narrowing of the spinal canal. Determining the real cause of pain is key to applying proper treatment and achieving pain relief and improved mobility. Continue reading “Is It Spinal Stenosis: Neurogenic vs Vascular Claudication” »

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Spinal Cord Injury Neuropathic Pain Drug Approved

lyrica pregabalin spinal cord injury treatment approved

Could pregabalin's approval offer relief for the 100,000 SCI sufferers in the US with neuropathic pain?

Severe spinal stenosis may result in spinal cord injury, as can acute back trauma. Patients suffering with resulting neuropathic pain may now be treated with pregabalin (Lyrica) for spinal cord injury after FDA approval was granted this week.

The drug, manufactured by Pfizer, has already been approved for use in other chronic pain conditions including fibromyalgia, postherpetic neuralgia, and diabetic neuropathy. With more than 100,000 patients in the US suffering an SCI resulting in neuropathic pain, this announcement offers another strategy for managing a hard to treat condition. Continue reading “Spinal Cord Injury Neuropathic Pain Drug Approved” »

Natural Osteoarthritis Treatment Linked to Acute Liver Injury

osteoarthritis medical food limbrel flavocoxid acute liver injury

Could your natural osteoarthritis medication cause acute liver problems?

A prescription medical food used to treat osteoarthritis has been linked to acute liver injury in a series of cases according to a paper published yesterday in ant Annals of Internal Medicine. Dr. Naga Chalasani and colleagues at the Indiana University School of Medicine, Indianapolis, report on four cases of liver toxicity, three which were deemed highly likely to be connected to this prescribed medical food, and one which is possibly connected. The food in question is flavocoxid, a botanical product used to treat osteoarthritis. Like other medical foods, flavocoxid is not required to pass premarketing trials for safety or efficacy, so these cases constitute an early warning for other patients using flavocoxid for osteoarthritis, a common cause of back pain and spinal stenosis. Continue reading “Natural Osteoarthritis Treatment Linked to Acute Liver Injury” »


What is an Endoscope and How Is It Used in a Spinal Stenosis Procedure?

Spinal Stenosis ProcedureA spinal stenosis procedure can take many forms, but the newest and least invasive type is called an endoscopic procedure. “Endoscopic” means that an endoscope is used during the surgery and “endoscopy” literally means “looking inside” an organ or body cavity, but how can this one tool, an endoscope, actually offer patients a minimally invasive surgical experience for spinal stenosis? First, let’s explore what an endoscope is and how it has revolutionized medical procedures.
Continue reading “What is an Endoscope and How Is It Used in a Spinal Stenosis Procedure?” »


Spinal Stenosis Surgery – Is it Safe for Senior Citizens?

Spinal Stenosis SurgeryIf you are a senior citizen who is considering having spinal stenosis surgery, there are probably quite a few questions running through your mind. Is it safe? What are the risks? Will I have more difficulty recovering from surgery because I’m older? These are all valid questions that you should discuss with your doctor as you embark on the process of deciding if spinal stenosis surgery is right for you.

Many factors go into determining if an individual is a candidate for spinal stenosis surgery. For instance, your doctor will take into consideration your age, your mobility level, your overall state of health, and your medical history. Pre-existing conditions like diabetes or heart disease can complicate a spinal stenosis surgery for senior citizens, both during and after the procedure, so make sure that you’re getting opinions from spine specialists who are fully aware of all of your health issues.

Continue reading “Spinal Stenosis Surgery – Is it Safe for Senior Citizens?” »

Spinal Stenosis Surgery Complication Rate Dependent on Surgeon’s Experience

spinal stenosis surgery complications

Who's performing your spinal stenosis surgery?

A new study published in Neurosurgery suggests that the risk of spinal stenosis surgery complications is higher when the surgeon performs few such procedures. Less than four spinal stenosis surgeries a year seems to be the important marker, so would you rather have an overworked or inexperienced spinal stenosis surgeon when you go under the knife? Continue reading “Spinal Stenosis Surgery Complication Rate Dependent on Surgeon’s Experience” »


Imaging for Low Back Pain Largely Unnecessary According to New Recommendations.

imaging for spinal stenosisImaging is unnecessary for lower back pain in most cases according to new research. Patients with back pain lasting less than six weeks should not have imaging such as MRI or X-Ray carried out unless red flags are present such as bowel or bladder dysfunction which can indicate cauda equina syndrome. Imaging may reveal conditions such as spinal stenosis but many people have evidence of spinal stenosis and remain asymptomatic; it is easy to see, therefore, why there are concerns over the prevalence of imaging for lumbar spine pain. Continue reading “Imaging for Low Back Pain Largely Unnecessary According to New Recommendations.” »