In the first long-term study of snow shovel-related emergency department visits, injuries to the lower back were found to be the most common place of injury. Over the course of 17 years of emergency department records 195,100 individuals were treated for incidents involving snow shoveling (11,500 per year). For the United States population, this comes to 4.15 cases per 100,000 people per year.
The pain medications Darvon and Darvocet (a combination medication of Darvon and acetaminophen) were removed from the US market on November 19th by the manufacturer Xanodyne after a safety study showed heart risk during higher than recommended doses and some heart risk even at recommended doses. The FDA is calling for the generic drug propoxyphene (the active ingredient in Darvon) to also be removed.
Cymbalta (duloxetine), a popular antidepressant medication and its manufacturing company, Eli Lilly, recently presented its case to an FDA advisory panel for the drug to be approved for use in treating chronic lower back pain, as well as pain due to osteoarthritis. Along with depression, Cymbalta is also approved by the FDA to treat anxiety, fibromyalgia, and nerve pain from diabetes.
The first robotic surgical device to be approved by the FDA for spine surgery is in use in a few hospitals around the world. Surgeons at the Texas Back Institute, and 24 other hospitals internationally, are now performing spine surgery with the assistance of robotic guidance. The SpineAssist device is the only surgical robot designed to operate on the spine, although it is expected to also be approved for brain surgery.
Rheumatoid arthritis treatments and research have developed immensely in the last twenty years, but the classification of the disease had not changed since 1987. A joint effort of the American College of Rheumatology and the European League against Rheumatism began in 2008 to develop new classification criteria for the disease aimed at identifying it earlier.
An FDA advisory committee recently met to review the FDA’s proposed plan to create a REMS (Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategy) to help deal with opioid abuse and overdoses. In the FDA proposal, manufacturers of extended-release opioids would be responsible for providing educational materials and programs for physicians and nurses. This was to include pamphlets for patients and educational classes to guide physicians’ selection of appropriate patients.
Patients with osteoporosis – and the doctors who treat them – can potentially ease worries about a particular cancer risk with the use of bisphosphonates to treat osteoporosis. Recent studies had found some evidence that the use of bisphosphonates could cause an increased risk of esophageal or gastric cancer in patients.
Researchers at the John Hunter Hospital and the Newcastle Bone and Joint Institute, both in Australia, recently finished a study on the effectiveness of transforaminal steroid injections. The study tested the injections as a viable treatment for lumbar radicular pain (sciatica) caused by a herniated disc before surgery is considered.
A new study performed at John Hopkins Medical Center and Walter Reed Army Medical Center suggests the current process of treating axial lower back pain caused by the facet joints is not the most cost-effective.
Bracing for adolescent idiopathic scoliosis has been controversial because it is not fully understood when bracing is beneficial and when it is not. Doctors at the Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children studied the efficacy of the Boston Brace when it was worn with compliance to the doctors’ prescribed time of daily brace wear.
Osteoporosis is one of the most common conditions affecting the U.S population, with approximately 10 million people suffering from the disease. With such a high occurrence of this condition among women, it is often thought as a women’s disease among the general population and some physicians. However, approximately 2 million of the 10 million sufferers of osteoporosis are men.
A new study conducted at the University of Texas may provide a first step towards developing a new medication for neuropathic pain.
Neuropathic pain is caused by nerve malfunction or nerve damage. There are few effective treatments for this type of pain since it is generally a chronic condition where nerve signals are malfunctioning without an identifiable anatomic cause.
Glucosamine is a dietary supplement commonly used to treat osteoarthritis of the knee and also osteoarthritis of other joints. It is believed to be an effective treatment for osteoarthritis, a condition in which the cartilage in a joint has worn down to the point where bone is in direct contact with other bone, causing friction and possibly inflammation, pain, or bone spurs.
Researchers studying autoimmune disease have found a link between immune response and back pain. According to a study by Duke University Medical Center published in the July issue of the journal Arthritis and Rheumatism, a response by immune cells was observed when a herniated disc was present.
While many news sources are pronouncing "Staying active is better than rest" for people with acute low back pain with or without sciatica, the data actually show that staying active is only marginally better for people with low back pain without sciatica, and not any better at all for those with sciatica.
The Food and Drug Administration recently approved the drug Prolia (denosumab) for use in treating osteoporosis in postmenopausal women. According to the National Institutes of Health, nearly 50 percent of women over age fifty will experience a bone fracture caused in some part by osteoporosis. Prolia is designed to prevent fractures by promoting bone strength, while also providing a convenient alternative to the most common osteoporosis treatment options currently prescribed.
Acupuncture is a popular form of Chinese medicine that has been around for over 2500 years. While it is typically not the first option used to treat neck pain or back pain, an increasing number of patients are using acupuncture for supplemental pain relief at the urging of physicians and other health professionals.
Osteoarthritis is the most common, and often most disabling form of arthritis. It occurs frequently in weight-bearing joints including the hips and knees, and is characterized by tenderness, swelling, and stiffness, and moderate to severe pain.
Scoliosis is not a disease or diagnosis in itself, rather it is a term used to describe an abnormal curvature of the spine. The condition can be caused by a number of factors-congenital, developmental, or degenerative problems-although the majority of cases have no apparent cause and thus are termed "idiopathic" scoliosis.