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Medicare’s Hospital Fines Could Improve Safety for Back Pain Patients

medicare fines for worst US hospitalsA 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” »


Hooked On Painkillers – How Some States in the US Are Overcoming Their Nasty Drug Habit

opioid painkiller overdose oxycodone side effectsChronic 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” »


Acetaminophen Probably Won’t Help Your Back Pain, New Study Says

acetaminophen no help for acute low back pain reliefAlmost 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” »

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Vitamin D Deficiency and Spinal Stenosis – Cause or Effect?

vitamin d back pain cycling exercise

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?” »

Lower Back Pain in Men – Is it Time to Check Your Prostate?

prostate problems and lower back painThere 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?” »


Side Effects of Gabapentin for Spinal Stenosis Nerve Pain

gabapentin side effects spinal stenosis treatmentThere 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” »


Chronic Kidney Disease and Bone Loss in the Spine

kidney disease and spinal stenosis bone lossPatients 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” »

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Could Spinal Stenosis Mask a Vitamin B12 Deficiency?

Symptoms of spinal stenosis can be confusing and confused with other conditions, including vitamin B12 deficiency. Indeed, some clinicians warn that not checking a patient’s vitamin B12 status may lead to them continuing to suffer primary symptoms even after having high-risk spine surgery. So, just how prevalent is vitamin B12 deficiency and how can you tell if you’re getting enough? Continue reading “Could Spinal Stenosis Mask a Vitamin B12 Deficiency?” »


Is Too Little Vitamin C to Blame for Your Back Pain?

vitamin c spinal stenosis back painVitamin C is typically seen as the supplement we turn to when trying to get rid of or avoid a nasty cold but could this essential nutrient also be involved in the development and progression of spinal stenosis? Read on to find out how getting enough vitamin C could help with your back pain and why smokers in particular need to carefully monitor their nutrient levels. Continue reading “Is Too Little Vitamin C to Blame for Your Back Pain?” »


Tests Confirm Richard III had Scoliosis

scoliosis richard iiiFor hundreds of years there have been references to the hunch-backed appearance of King Richard III of England but up until now it wasn’t known if this was imaginative licence or based on facts. Following the unearthing in 2012 of the king’s skeleton, scientists have now confirmed that Richard III had scoliosis, or spinal curvature, and a significant case at that, but would it actually have caused the degree of deformity some claim? Continue reading “Tests Confirm Richard III had Scoliosis” »