Health and Fitness

Yoga Relieves Chronic Lower Back Pain, Study Suggests

US researchers studying people with chronic lower back problems found that those who did Iyengar Yoga were better at overcoming pain and depression than those who followed conventional treatments for lower back pain. The study, which was funded by the US National Institutes of Health to the tune of 400, 000 dollars, was the work of Dr Kimberly Williams, research assistant professor in the Department of Community Medicine at West Virginia University in Morgantown, and colleagues, and can be read online in the 1 September issue of the journal Spine. Low-back pain is the largest category for medical reimbursements in the US, accounting for 34 billion dollars of medical costs every year, said the researchers. The three-year study showed that the group that did yoga had lifted mood, less pain and improved function compared to the control group that received standard medical therapy. Proponents of yoga have often described how it helps back pain, but not everyone was convinced so Williams and colleagues conducted this research, which they say is the biggest and most rigorous evaluation ever done.

Implications For Spinal Cord Research From Gecko Model

Geckos and other lizards have long been known for their incredible ability to shed their tails as a decoy for predators, but little is known about the movements and what controls the tail once it separates from the lizard's body. Anthony Russell of the University of Calgary and Tim Higham of Clemson University in South Carolina are closer to solving this mystery as outlined in a paper they co-authored published in the journal Biology Letters. The scientists demonstrate that tails exhibit not only rhythmic but also complex movements, including flips, jumps and lunges, after the tails are shed. Although one previous study has looked at movement of the tail after it is severed, no study up to this point has quantified movement patterns of the tail by examining the relationship between such patterns and muscular activity. The new findings are significant because Higham and Russell's discoveries indicate that the lizard tail can provide a model for studying the complex functions of the spinal cord and the effects of spinal cord injuries.

Mesoblast Limited ASX:MSB Proprietary Stem Cells Successfully Repair Regenerate Damaged Intervertebral Disc Cartilage

Australia's regenerative medicine company, Mesoblast Limited (ASX:MSB)(PINK:MBLTY), today announced highly successful preclinical trial results of its adult stem cells in the treatment of degenerative intervertebral disc disease, the leading cause of low back pain. A single low-dose injection of Mesoblast's allogeneic or "off-the-shelf' adult stem cells into severely damaged intervertebral discs resulted in dramatic reversal of the degenerative process, regrowth of disc cartilage, and sustained normalization of disc pathology, anatomy and function. The results of a placebo-controlled, randomised trial of Mesoblast's cells for the treatment of degenerative disc disease in 36 sheep is being presented and highlighted at the World Congress on Osteoarthritis, OsteoArthritis Research Society International (OARSI), being held in Montreal, Canada from 10-12 September. Six months after a single direct intra-discal injection of Mesoblast's cells, discs that were initially severely damaged and degenerated were found to have become indistinguishable from healthy non-degenerated discs in their histopathology, cartilage content, height, and structure.

New Data Show Patients With Chronic Low Back Pain Maintained Pain Reduction On Cymbalta R

New data show patients with chronic low back pain on Cymbalta(R) (duloxetine HCl) maintained reductions in pain for 41 weeks.(1) In patients who initially responded to duloxetine, this maintenance of pain reduction was accompanied by further reduction in pain that was statistically significant as measured by the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) average pain rating.(1) The data will be presented today at the sixth triennial congress of the European Federation of Chapters of the International Association for the Study of Pain (EFIC(R)). A total of 181 patients enrolled in the open-label 41-week extension phase of the study, designed to evaluate long-term maintenance of effect in patients with chronic low back pain taking duloxetine 60 mg or 120 mg once daily. Maintenance of effect was assessed in the responders - 58 duloxetine patients who had experienced at least 30 percent pain reduction from baseline during the 13-week, placebo-controlled acute phase of the study. The most common adverse events in the study (those occurring in more than 5 percent of study participants) included headache, nausea, upper abdominal pain, excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis), back pain, diarrhea and fatigue.

New Data Show Patients With Chronic Low Back Pain Maintained Pain Reduction On Duloxetine

New data show patients with chronic low back pain on duloxetine hydrochloride ( Cymbalta ® ) maintained reductions in pain for 41 weeks.[i] In patients who initially responded to duloxetine, this maintenance of pain reduction was accompanied by further reduction in pain that was statistically significant as measured by the Brief Pain Inventory (BPI) average pain rating.1 The data will be presented today at the sixth triennial congress of the European Federation of International Association for the Study of Pain Chapters (EFIC® ). A total of 181 patients enrolled in the open-label 41-week extension phase of the study, designed to evaluate long-term maintenance of effect in patients with chronic low back pain taking duloxetine 60 mg or 120 mg once daily. Maintenance of effect was assessed in the responders - 58 duloxetine patients who had experienced at least 30 percent pain reduction from baseline during the 13-week, placebo-controlled acute phase of the study. The most common adverse events in the study (those occurring in more than 5 percent of study participants) included headache, nausea, upper abdominal pain, excessive sweating (hyperhidrosis), back pain, diarrhoea and fatigue.

Overweight Children May Develop Back Pain And Spinal Abnormalities

Being overweight as a child could lead to early degeneration in the spine, according to a study presented today at the annual meeting of the Radiological Society of North America (RSNA). "This is the first study to show an association between increased body mass index (BMI) and disc abnormalities in children, " said the study's lead author, Judah G. Burns, M.D., fellow in diagnostic neuroradiology at The Children's Hospital at Montefiore in New York City. In this retrospective study, Dr. Burns and colleagues reviewed MR images of the spines of 188 adolescents between the ages of 12 and 20 who complained of back pain and were imaged at the hospital over a four-year period. Trauma and other conditions that would predispose children to back pain were eliminated from the study. The images revealed that 98 (52.1 percent) of the patients had some abnormality in the lower, or lumbar, spine. Most of those abnormalities occurred within the discs, which are sponge-like cushions in between the bones of the spine.

Natural Hydrogel Helps Heal Spinal Cord, Barrow Researcher Finds

Research led by a scientist at the Barrow Neurological Institute at St. Joseph's Hospital and Medical Center has shown injecting biomaterial gel into a spinal cord injury site provides significantly improved healing. The project that also included researchers from Purdue University and Arizona State University indicates that a "practical path" to treatment may be found for spinal injury patients. The research led by the Mark Preul, MD of Barrow and Alyssa Panitch, PhD of Purdue was published in the Journal of Neurosurgery. Their study found that injection of an engineered hydrogel made up mainly of hyaluronic acid (a naturally-occurring body substance) into the spinal cord injury site decreases scarring and promotes a realignment of the spinal cord fibers around the injury site. The hyaluronic acid which forms a scaffold-like configuration may help to structurally stabilize the spinal cord injury site. Tracing of cells in the brain stem after injury showed much higher levels in the hydrogel treated animals compared to animals which did not receive the treatment, and approached nearly normal levels.

'Back-Breaking' Work Beliefs Contribute To Health Workers' Pain

Whether from heaving, twisting, bending or bad lifting postures, it's well known that caring for the sick or elderly can lead to back pain. This often results in time off work or dropping out of caring professions altogether. Now Danish research published in the online open access journal BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders suggests that the fear of getting back pain from care work is predictive of actually developing it. Among healthcare workers, studies have found LBP rates during a 12-month period of 45-63 percent compared with 40-50 percent in the general population. Rather than avoiding physical activity, medical guidelines based on LBP research recommend staying active and continuing normal daily life, including going to work. Jette Nygaard Jensen and colleagues from the National Research Centre for the Working Environment, Copenhagen, Denmark set out to investigate the association between physical work load and lower back pain (LBP), and whether fear-avoidance beliefs had a predictive effect on developing LBP.

Primary Care Physicians Are Front Line Defense In Diagnosing Serious Illness In Patients With Acute Lower Back Pain

A study by researchers at The George Institute for International Health in Australia found that it is rare for patients presenting to PCPs with acute lower back pain to have previously undiagnosed serious diseases. The most common serious disease cause documented was vertebral fracture, with half of the cases identified at the time of initial consultation. Full findings appear in the October issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that global prevalence of lower back pain could be as high as 42%. Pain occurring in the lower back interrupts daily routines such as work, school, or activities and is a chief cause of visits to primary care physicians (PCPs). According to The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), back pain is the second most common neurological ailment in the U.S.

For Patients With Acute Lower Back Pain, PCPs Are Front Line Defense In Diagnosing Serious Illness

A study by researchers at The George Institute for International Health in Australia found that it is rare for patients presenting to PCPs with acute lower back pain to have previously undiagnosed serious diseases. The most common serious disease cause documented was vertebral fracture, with half of the cases identified at the time of initial consultation. Full findings appear in the October issue of Arthritis & Rheumatism, a journal published by Wiley-Blackwell on behalf of the American College of Rheumatology. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that global prevalence of lower back pain could be as high as 42%. Pain occurring in the lower back interrupts daily routines such as work, school, or activities and is a chief cause of visits to primary care physicians (PCPs). According to The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke (NINDS), a part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), back pain is the second most common neurological ailment in the U.S.

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