Nih-funded Study Suggests Brain Is Hard-wired For Chronic Pain

Image of a brain scan

In agreement with this idea, the researchers also found that the white matter of subjects who had persistent pain looked similar to a third group of subjects known to suffer from chronic pain. In contrast, the white matter of chiropractor the subjects who recovered looked similar to that of healthy control subjects. To test this idea further, the researchers asked whether the white matter differences they saw during the initial brain scans predicted whether the subjects would recover or continue to experience pain. They found white matter brain scans predicted at least 80 percent of the outcomes. We were surprised how robust the results were and amazed at how well the brain scans predicted persistence of low back pain, said Dr. Apkarian. Prediction is the name of the game for treating chronic pain. The nucleus accumbens and the medial prefrontal cortex are two brain regions thought to be involved with pain. Further examination of the brain scans suggests that the white matter structure connecting these brains regions is different between the subjects who recovered and those who had persistent pain. Our results support the notion that certain brain networks are involved with chronic pain, said Dr. Apkarian. Understanding these networks will help us diagnose chronic pain better and develop more precise treatments. This study was supported by a grant from NINDS (NS35115) and an anonymous foundation.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.nih.gov/news/health/sep2013/ninds-17.htm

Saline Injections Can Successfully Treat Lower Back Pain

Simply put, it’s a natural and safe painkiller. It is a no-fuss treatment – Contrary to the presumption that acupuncture is a treatment that ‘hurts,’ it is actually a fairly simple, no-fuss way to treat back pain. So if you’re tired of running around from physicians to orthopedics for second opinions and tests, try acupuncture. It’s light on the pocket – If diagnostic tests and consultations from physicians are burning a hole in your wallet, acupuncture may be a much cheaper option. It offers added benefits – It is believed that acupuncture, when used for a particular treatment, brings with it some added benefits too. This is because it balances the body’s internal energies; curbing away any teeny-tiny health problems that may have been nagging you in the back of your head, but you chose to ignore. If you’ve decided to use acupuncture for your back pain, you can expect improved blood circulation, improved skin health and a boost in your energy levels. Side effects/ Risks of acupuncture Getting acupuncture services from a well-qualified, certified professional is likely to be a side-effect free experience. However, you may experience a few undesirable effects after an acupuncture session if you suffer from any skin infections , soreness , bruising or if the acupuncturist uses non-sterile needles. Also, if you’re currently on medications, especially blood thinners, you may have a chance of bleeding after an acupuncture session.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.medindia.net/news/healthinfocus/acupuncture-for-back-pain-125200-1.htm

How a jab in the back could be more effective for lower back pain than my website steroids

A saline injection in the spine could be more effective than steroids for treating lower back pain, a new study has revealed

If you wake up and do not go in for a shower but rather head out for a run or to the gym then hop on the foam roller for a few minutes. Perform the techniques seen in the video to help loosen up the lower back before exercising. If you do not wake up and shower or go to work out and you do not own a foam roller before getting out of bed grab your knees and hug them a few times, the sit on the edge of the bed and just rotate from side to side to get the blood flowing. When you get up and you feel stiff, whether it is from sleeping or from laying on the couch there are a few things you should not do. The first is you should not sit back down. You get stiff because you are not moving. Your muscles need blood to flow them so getting up and doing some gentle walking. Take it slow. You do not want to do any fast, jerky movements.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.philly.com/philly/blogs/sportsdoc/Treating-and-dealing-with-back-pain.html

Acupuncture for Back Pain

Medical Advances, Better Treatment And New Drugs Help An Average American To Live 3.8 Years Longer

In a paper published in the latest issue of the journal Anaesthesiology, the scientists explain that, although they are currently viewed as the standard treatment for lower back pain, epidural steroid injections are linked with several side effects. Besides, they only seem to work about 60% of the time. As the researchers put it, Placebo-controlled studies have found benefit only 60 percent of the time and it remains unclear whether the epidural steroids provide long-term pain control or reduce the need for surgery. Furthermore, Meanwhile, experts warn, steroids are a less-than-ideal treatment for some as they can raise blood sugar in diabetic back patients, slow wound healing in those who need surgery and accelerate bone disease in older women. Unlike steroid injections, saline ones have not been linked with any noteworthy side effects. What’s more, they appear to be equally effective at providing relief. The John Hopkins University researchers theorize that this is because, contrary to popular opinion, injecting fluid around the spinal cord, and not the steroids themselves, is what eases the pain. It may not be the steroids in spinal shots that provide relief from lower back pain, but the mere introduction of any of a number of fluids, such as anesthetics and saline, to the space around the spinal cord, they argue. Just injecting liquid into the epidural space appears to work. This shows us that most of the relief may not be from the steroid, which everyone worries about, Professor Steven Cohen further stresses. The researchers say that, until further investigations into this issue are carried out, it would be unwise for them to recommend that people quit treating their lower back pain with epidural steroid injections, and switch to saline solutions instead. However, they recommend that, in light of these findings, doctors consider limiting the amount of steroids that they inject into their patients’ bodies. Our evidence does support the notion that, for now, reducing the amount of steroids for patients at risk may be advisable, study first author Mark C.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://news.softpedia.com/news/Saline-Injections-Can-Successfully-Treat-Lower-Back-Pain-384379.shtml

Even before injury, chronic back pain may start in the brain

Spinal pain is a leading cause of disability in the industrialised world and epidural steroid injections – the most common nonsurgical treatment – have been the standard treatment for more than 50 years. Yet the alternative spinal injection in the space around the spinal cord may provide better relief than steroids which can have adverse side effects. A saline injection in the spine could be more effective than steroids for treating lower back pain, a new study has revealed Steroids raise blood sugar in diabetic back patients, slow the healing of wounds and accelerate bone disease in older women, the Johns Hopkins University study found. Professor of Anaesthesiology Steven Cohen at the U.S. university said: Just injecting liquid into the epidural space appears to work. Terry Pratchett: The Government is failing dementia patients, providing ‘barely enough money to buy a middling Premier League striker’ The research was prompted when more than 740 people in 20 U.S. states became ill with fungal meningitis and 55 people died after getting epidural injections of contaminated steroids last year. back pain clinic Although better oversight might reduce that risk, patients can only get a limited number of steroid injections each year, even if their pain returns. Spinal pain is a leading cause of disability in the industrialised world and epidural steroid injections – the most common nonsurgical treatment – have been the standard treatment for more than 50 years Professor Cohen said it was too soon to recommend that patients stop receiving epidural steroids, but added that their analysis also suggests that smaller steroid doses can be just as beneficial. Fellow researcher Dr Mark Bicket said larger scale studies were needed to determine whether steroid alternatives can be just as helpful for back pain patients. He said: Our evidence does support the notion that, for now, reducing the amount of steroids for patients at risk may be advisable. The review covered medical records of 3,641 patients from 43 studies conducted in October 2012 and compared epidural steroid injections to other sorts of epidural and intramuscular injections. Professor Cohen said the new analysis suggested that decades of mixed results of research on epidural steroid injections may have been due to the use of saline or anaesthetic injections as the comparison placebo treatment. He said: Its likely that those studies were actually comparing two treatments, rather than placebo versus treatment.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2424521/How-jab-effective-lower-pain-steroids.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490

Treating and dealing with back pain

The study was conducted by researchers at Northwestern University’s Feinberg School of Medicine, led by Ali R. Mansour and A. Vania Apkarian, both pioneers in defining the link between pain and emotion. Research has shown that there are clear differences that distinguish the brains of those with chronic pain from those without such pain. Chronic pain sufferers consistently show reduced volume in the brain’s gray matter, the cortical structures key to perception, movement, memory and reasoning. Researchers have also shown that compared to healthy patients, the brains of chronic pain sufferers are wired differently, in ways that suggest that physical sensations and emotional responses are bound more tightly together. But are those brain differences a response to chronic pain — the brain’s response to the experience of months or years of physical misery? Or do those differences predate chronic pain — nudging what for another patient would be a short-term experience of discomfort into a lifelong ordeal? The authors of the current study, working under a federal government initiative aimed at consolidating research on pain, devised a series of experiments designed to clarify which came first. They did so by recruiting 46 subjects who had experienced a first episode of back pain that had already lasted four to 16 weeks, and performing regular brain scans on those subjects for a year.
For the original version including any supplementary images or video, visit http://www.latimes.com/science/sciencenow/la-sci-chronic-back-pain-brain-20130917,0,5845321.story

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