Balloon Kyphoplasty Improves Pain QOL

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Balloon Kyphoplasty For Vertebral Fracture Reduces Pain, Improves QOL.

Laura Dean writing in Medwire reported, “Balloon kyphoplasty for vertebral fracture rapidly reduces pain and improves function, disability, and quality of life (QOL) over the course of two years, compared with non-surgical management,” according to a study published in the Journal of Bone and Mineral Research.  This type of fracture often causes severe pain between the shoulder blades. Researchers used the “100-point short-form (SF)-36 physical component summary (PCS) score to assess the patients’ physical ability at regular intervals through the study period.”  They found that improvement in the “SF-36 PCS score from baseline over the 24-month period was, on average, 3.24-points higher among patients in the balloon kyphoplasty group compared with those in the non-surgical care group.”

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Virus ruled out as cause of FM

Sally Koch Kubetin writing in Rheumatology News reported that Xenotropic murine leukemia virus-related virus – whew what a mouthful – often shortened to XMRV- has been touted as a possible cause of fibromyalgia.  Researchers at the Hospital; Universitario,  Madrid compared blood from 15 patients who met the American College of Rheumatology  diagnostic criteria for fibromyalgia and 10 healthy controls. They screened using a DNA extraction and polymerase chain reaction. They failed to find evidence of XMRA in the blood.

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Study Questions PES Treatment Viability.

Amy Norton writing in Reuters reports that, according to a study published in the Journal of Arthritis & Rheumatism, pulsed electrical stimulation (PES) may not be an effective way to ease pain and stiffness from knee arthritis. For the study, researchers randomly assigned 70 subjects to undergo either PES therapy or a placebo version. In the placebo version, the electrical pulse was shut off after a few minutes. They found that although both groups experienced less pain and stiffness, no greater benefits were experienced by the group that received the PES therapy. Whether this treatment works or not is controversial.  There is data going both ways.

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Spinal Fusion Surgery Patients Worse Off Than Patients Treated Non-Surgically.

Maureen Salamon writing in HealthDay reported, “Spinal fusion surgery for chronic low back pain  –  an increasingly controversial treatment that has exploded in use over the last 20 years – leads to higher rates of permanent disability for worker’s compensation patients compared to those treated non-surgically,” according to a study in Spine.  Researchers randomly selected “725 people with low back pain treated with fusion surgery and 725 whose more conservative treatment included exercise and physical therapy.” They found that “11 percent were permanently disabled compared with 2 percent of those without surgery”; and nearly “85 percent of the spinal fusion patients continued using opioid painkillers vs. 49 percent of non-surgical patients, with those who had had the surgery upping their daily opioid use by 41 percent.” Avoid this kind of surgery!

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Short Breaks May Alleviate Back Pain.

Janice Lloyd writing in USA Today reported, “Preventing back pain might be as easy as getting up from your chair and walking every couple of hours,” according to Dr. Michael Schafer at the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons meeting.  Dr. Schafer said that patients should see a physician “if pain lasts more than three weeks or if there is numbness or tingling in a leg.”

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