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Concept: Low back pain

415

This randomized controlled trial was performed to investigate whether placebo effects in chronic low back pain could be harnessed ethically by adding open-label placebo (OLP) treatment to treatment as usual (TAU) for 3 weeks. Pain severity was assessed on three 0- to 10-point Numeric Rating Scales, scoring maximum pain, minimum pain, and usual pain, and a composite, primary outcome, total pain score. Our other primary outcome was back-related dysfunction, assessed on the Roland-Morris Disability Questionnaire. In an exploratory follow-up, participants on TAU received placebo pills for 3 additional weeks. We randomized 97 adults reporting persistent low back pain for more than 3 months' duration and diagnosed by a board-certified pain specialist. Eighty-three adults completed the trial. Compared to TAU, OLP elicited greater pain reduction on each of the three 0- to 10-point Numeric Rating Scales and on the 0- to 10-point composite pain scale (P < 0.001), with moderate to large effect sizes. Pain reduction on the composite Numeric Rating Scales was 1.5 (95% confidence interval: 1.0-2.0) in the OLP group and 0.2 (-0.3 to 0.8) in the TAU group. Open-label placebo treatment also reduced disability compared to TAU (P < 0.001), with a large effect size. Improvement in disability scores was 2.9 (1.7-4.0) in the OLP group and 0.0 (-1.1 to 1.2) in the TAU group. After being switched to OLP, the TAU group showed significant reductions in both pain (1.5, 0.8-2.3) and disability (3.4, 2.2-4.5). Our findings suggest that OLP pills presented in a positive context may be helpful in chronic low back pain.This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-Non Commercial-No Derivatives License 4.0 (CCBY-NC-ND), where it is permissible to download and share the work provided it is properly cited. The work cannot be changed in any way or used commercially without permission from the journal.

Concepts: Low back pain, Randomized controlled trial, Statistical significance, Pharmaceutical industry, Clinical research, Placebo, Acupuncture, Effect size

292

PURPOSE The purpose of this study was to explore the formation and impact of attitudes and beliefs among people experiencing acute and chronic low back pain. METHODS Semistructured qualitative interviews were conducted with 12 participants with acute low back pain (less than 6 weeks' duration) and 11 participants with chronic low back pain (more than 3 months' duration) from 1 geographical region within New Zealand. Data were analyzed using an Interpretive Description framework. RESULTS Participants' underlying beliefs about low back pain were influenced by a range of sources. Participants experiencing acute low back pain faced considerable uncertainty and consequently sought more information and understanding. Although participants searched the Internet and looked to family and friends, health care professionals had the strongest influence upon their attitudes and beliefs. Clinicians influenced their patients' understanding of the source and meaning of symptoms, as well as their prognostic expectations. Such information and advice could continue to influence the beliefs of patients for many years. Many messages from clinicians were interpreted as meaning the back needed to be protected. These messages could result in increased vigilance, worry, guilt when adherence was inadequate, or frustration when protection strategies failed. Clinicians could also provide reassurance, which increased confidence, and advice, which positively influenced the approach to movement and activity. CONCLUSIONS Health care professionals have a considerable and enduring influence upon the attitudes and beliefs of people with low back pain. It is important that this opportunity is used to positively influence attitudes and beliefs.

Concepts: Health care, Low back pain, Back pain, Symptoms, Meaning of life

275

Non-specific low back pain (NSLBP) is a large and costly problem. It has a lifetime prevalence of 80% and results in high levels of healthcare cost. It is a major cause for long term sickness amongst the workforce and is associated with high levels of fear avoidance and kinesiophobia. Stabilisation (or ‘core stability’) exercises have been suggested to reduce symptoms of pain and disability and form an effective treatment. Despite it being the most commonly used form of physiotherapy treatment within the UK there is a lack of positive evidence to support its use. The aims of this systematic review update is to investigate the effectiveness of stabilisation exercises for the treatment of NSLBP, and compare any effectiveness to other forms of exercise.

Concepts: Disease, Spinal disc herniation, Low back pain, Back pain, Exercise, Symptoms, Acupuncture, Massage

193

Initial management decisions following a new episode of low back pain (LBP) are thought to have profound implications for health care utilization and costs. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the impact of early and guideline adherent physical therapy for low back pain on utilization and costs within the Military Health System (MHS).

Concepts: Health care, Health economics, Medicine, Spinal disc herniation, Low back pain, Back pain, Acupuncture, Massage

173

To ascertain whether the use of oral glucosamine influences symptoms or functional outcomes in patients with chronic low back pain (LBP) thought to be related to spinal osteoarthritis (OA).

Concepts: Low back pain, Back pain, Symptoms, Osteoarthritis, Acupuncture

171

Bony defects in the spine are divided into three main types: spondylolysis, pediculolysis, and laminolysis. Lumbar spondylolysis is a well-known stress fracture that occurs frequently in adolescent athletes. Pediculolysis means stress fracture of the pedicle, which sometimes occurs subsequent to unilateral spondylolysis. Laminolysis is a rarely reported stress fracture similar to spondylolysis and pediculolysis that sometimes causes low back pain (LBP). However, its pathomechanism has not been elucidated. Recently, we encountered four adolescent athletes with symptomatic laminolysis. Mean age was 15.8 (range 15-17) years. All subjects reported severe LBP exacerbated by extension of the lumbar spine, and radiology revealed two types of laminolysis: hemilaminar type and intralaminar type. To elucidate the mechanisms of each type, we reviewed a biomechanical study, and found that the hemilaminar type was thought to be subsequent to contralateral spondylolysis, while the intralaminar type might be a result of a stress fracture due to repetitive extension loading.

Concepts: Spinal disc herniation, Low back pain, Back pain, Lumbar vertebrae, Acupuncture, Massage, Spondylolysis

170

Chronic low back pain (CLBP) and chronic neck pain (CNP) have become a serious medical and socioeconomic problem in recent decades. Patients suffering from chronic pain seem to have a higher prevalence of sleep disorders.

Concepts: Low back pain, Back pain, Sleep deprivation, Pain, Chronic pain

170

BACKGROUND: Leg pain associated with low back pain (LBP) is recognized as a risk factor for a poor prognosis, and is included as a component in most LBP classification systems. The location of leg pain relative to the knee and the presence of a positive straight leg raise test have been suggested to have clinical implications. To understand differences between such leg pain subgroups, and whether differences include potentially modifiable characteristics, the purpose of this paper was to describe characteristics of patients classified into the Quebec Task Force (QTF) subgroups of: 1) LBP only, 2) LBP and pain above the knee, 3) LBP and pain below the knee, and 4) LBP and signs of nerve root involvement. METHODS: Analysis of routine clinical data from an outpatient department. Based on patient reported data and clinical findings, patients were allocated to the QTF subgroups and described according to the domains of pain, activity limitation, work participation, psychology, general health and clinical examination findings. RESULTS: A total of 2,673 patients aged 18–95 years (median 47) who were referred for assessment of LBP were included. Increasing severity was consistently observed across the subgroups from LBP only to LBP with signs of nerve root involvement although subgroup differences were small. LBP patients with leg pain differed from those with LBP only on a wide variety of parameters, and patients with signs of nerve root involvement had a more severe profile on almost all measures compared with other patients with back-related leg pain. CONCLUSION: LBP patients with pain referral to the legs were more severely affected than those with local LBP, and patients with signs of nerve root involvement were the ones most severily affected. These findings underpin the concurrent validity of the Quebec Task Force Classification. However, the small size of many between-subgroup differences amid the large variability in this sample of cross-sectional data also underlines that the heterogeneity of patients with LBP is more complex than that which can be explained by leg pain patterns alone. The implications of the observed differences also require investigation in longitudinal studies.

Concepts: Longitudinal study, Epidemiology, Spinal disc herniation, Low back pain, Cross-sectional study, Cross-sectional analysis, Straight leg raise, Cyclic group

152

Immune thrombocytopenia (ITP) is a hematological disorder with an isolated decrease in number of circulating platelets. Bee venom therapy (BVT) is a form of alternative medicine. It is still being practiced in the Middle East and other parts of Asia. In BVT, acupuncture points are used to inject diluted bee venom into the body. The pharmacological basis behind BVT is not fully understood. However, it has been used to treat various medical conditions such as arthritis and low back pain. On the other hand there have been a number of reported complications of BVT use such as ITP. We present a case report on ITP after BVT.

Concepts: Medicine, Low back pain, Platelet, Middle East, Acupuncture, Alternative medicine, Asia, Idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura

148

Chronic low back pain due to disc degeneration represents a major social and economic burden worldwide. The current standard of care is limited to symptomatic relief and no current approved therapy promotes disc regeneration. Bone marrow-derived mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) are easily accessible and well characterized. These MSCs are multipotent and exhibit great tissue regenerative potential including bone, cartilage, and fibrous tissue regeneration. The use of this cell-based biologic for treating protruding disc herniation and/or intervertebral disc degeneration is a promising therapeutic strategy, due to their known regenerative, immuno-modulatory and anti-inflammatory properties.

Concepts: Spinal disc herniation, Low back pain, Back pain, Stem cell, Mesenchymal stem cell, Bone marrow, Stem cells, Acupuncture