A commonly used drug for sciatica… does it really work? Next
Pregabalin May Be No Better Than Placebo For Relieving The Leg Pain Associated With Sciatica, Study Suggests
Jia Naqvi writing in the Washington Post reported that research suggests pregabalin, which is “frequently prescribed for pain, is no more effective than a placebo at controlling sciatica.” The researchers at the George Institute for Global Health in Australia followed 209 sciatica patients in Sydney who were randomly assigned to receive either the drug pregabalin, more commonly known as Lyrica, or a placebo. The results showed no significant differences in leg pain intensity between the group on the placebo and that on Lyrica after eight weeks taking the drug or during the rest of the year on follow-up exams. Similarly, there were no differences for other outcomes such as back pain, quality of life and degree of disability.The findings were published in the New England Journal of Medicine.
Here’s some promising bizarre news for back pain sufferers…
Spinal Underwear May Relieve Lower Back Pain
Dr. Para Pullen reported in the Rheumatologist that Yoshihiro Hagiwara, MD, PhD, assistant professor in the Department of Upper Limb Organ at Tohoku University School of Medicine in Japan, and colleagues published a study in the Journal of Occupational Health.¹ Although the study included healthcare workers, medical assistants and physical therapists, the majority (81%) of the participants were nurses, all of whom had low back pain. The experimental group wore special underwear at all times except while bathing and sleeping. Unfortunately, the investigators did not have actual sham underwear, so they could not create a double-blind experiment.
The individuals in the experimental group wore the Spinal Underwear for three months, and the control group remained on the waiting list for three months. The same blinded examiner evaluated both groups at the beginning and end of treatment. The investigators found the Spinal Underwear was able to reduce low back pain in healthcare workers, as measured by VAS. It also reduced Somatosensory Amplification Scale (SSAS) scores, as well as increasing lumbar spine range of motion and reducing neck pain.
Comment: They ought to combine these with Depends. Now that would be a product!
Back pain unrelieved by rest may indicate systemic problem
Bruce Jancin writing in Rheumatology News reported that night time back pain or pain unrelieved by rest is a red flag for systemic illness according to Dr. Robert Janson at a symposium sponsored at the University of Colorado. Other red flags include weight loss, fever, sweats, age over 50, low back pain lasting longer than 6 weeks or pain unresponsive to treatment.
Comment: Most low back pain is mechanical in nature and improves over time with proper therapy but 5% of patients have a more serious problem that needs to be identified.
Popular Nerve Pain Medicine Has Little Effect On Back Pain.
Sonja Elmquist writing in Bloomberg News reported that Pfizer Inc.’s best-selling drug, Lyrica (pregabalin), “didn’t help patients with the most common cause of back pain,” severe lumbar spinal stenosis, “any more than a placebo in a small study.” The study’s findings, published in the journal Neurology, casts “doubt on the potential for doctors to expand the medication’s use.” The FDA “has not approved the drug’s use for spinal stenosis,” but Lyrica “and similar medicines are often used to treat lower back pain.”
Comment: I don’t use Lyrica for back pain. It is helpful for peripheral neuropathy and shingles pain though.
So what are the best sexual positions for back pain sufferers? Want to know? Bet you do… next.
Bad back? These are the best sex positions to ease the pain.
Abby Phillip writing for the Washington Post reported a new study out of the University of Waterloo in Canada has some real answers to questions about how to avoid exacerbating (or creating) back pain during sex.
“Spooning had previously been considered a one-position-fits-all for both men and women with back pain,” said Natalie Sidorkewicz, lead author of the study, which will be published in the journal Spine. “That ignores the fact that there are different kinds of back pain triggered by different kinds of movements.”
The Waterloo research team recruited 10 healthy male subjects and 10 healthy female partners. (The couples were outfitted with reflective markers that acted as sensors, similar to what video game animators and visual effects artists use, to model the spine angles used during five different sexual positions. They also monitored how hard muscles worked during sex, and even which muscles were effected by orgasm (more on that later).
The first phase of the study looked closely at male movement in the “spooning,” two variations of the “missionary position,” and two variations of the rear-entry quadruped (also known as “doggy-style”) position. In general, Sidorkewicz advises that in any position, controlling the movement with the hip and knee rather than the spine will be more spine sparing, and for the person not controlling the movement, maintaining a neutral spine is key to reducing lower back strain.
Comment: Well… at least we know that spooning is not the best for everybody.