Glucosamine sulfate appears to have no effect on chronic low back pain from degenerative lumbar osteoarthritis

Alternative Medicine
I've posting a blog on the effectiveness of glucosamine sulfate for osteoarthritis of the knee. In my practice, it's never seemed to work well for arthritis or degenerative disc disease of the lower back. Now, there's new data supporting my observation. On its website, ABC News reported, "Glucosamine has looked like salvation to many people with joint pain," and "statistics attest to the supplement's widespread appeal." For example, a "2007 federal survey of Americans' use of complementary and alternative medicine found that more than 6 million adults in the United States had taken glucosamine in the previous month." Meanwhile, a "study from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, published in 2004, found that among women treated at New Mexico hospitals for joint and muscle pain, 25 percent of…
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Americans spending more on back surgery, but few find relief

Men's Health, Woman's Health
The AP reports, "Even though only a fraction of people with back pain are good candidates for surgery, complicated spine operations are on the rise. So is the hunt for any relief." According to "one recent estimate, Americans are spending a staggering $86 billion a year in care for aching backs – from MRIs to pain pills to nerve blocks to acupuncture. That research found little evidence that the population got better as the bill soared over the past decade." The AP notes, "The reality is that time often is the best antidote. Most people will experience back pain at some point, but up to 90 percent will heal on their own within weeks," and "for run-of-the-mill cases, doctors aren't even supposed to do an X-ray or MRI unless the…
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TENS judged to be ineffective for low-back pain

General Health
Lots of us doctors, and many physical therapists, utilize TENS (transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation) for low back pain. Now a Los Angeles Times "Booster Shots" blog reports that, according to new guidelines published online in the journal Neurology, the "popular pain therapy using a portable device called TENS should not be used to treat chronic low-back pain." Wow, this will be a change for many of us. After reviewing studies and medical literature, researchers from the Kansas University Medical Center said that "the therapy is ineffective for low-back pain." HealthDay reported, "An exception was diabetic nerve pain, also known as diabetic neuropathy, which can cause symmetrical numbness, decreased sensation, and a feeling of burning, usually involving the legs, but sometimes affecting the hands." Study lead author Richard M. Dubinsky, MD, MPH,…
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Osteopathic care may ease late-pregnancy back pain

Woman's Health
Low back pain in pregnancy is extremely common and manipulative therapy has been shown in a number of studies to be very helpful -- especially for a condition called sacroiliac subluxation. Now, comes a story from Reuters Health confirming that gentle manipulation from an osteopathic doctor may relieve late-pregnancy back pain that frequently hinders bending, lifting, or walking. The findings came from a small study hint and was performed by doctors in osteopathic medicine (DOs), who are medical doctors additionally trained in gentle manipulative techniques to help restore function, range of motion, and lessen pain in bones and adjoining muscles supporting the neck, back, chest, shoulders, and hips. Osteopathic manipulation may particularly benefit pregnant women seeking medication-free back pain relief, note Dr. John C. Licciardone and colleagues at University of…
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