Back Pain: Advice and Education Provide Small Short-Term Improvements in Pain and Disability

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Caitlin Jones PhD Candidate
The University of Sydney
Faculty of Medicine and Health, Sydney School of Public Health
Institute for Musculoskeletal Health
Royal Prince Alfred Hospita
Australia

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study? What are the main findings?

Response: Despite advice being recommended internationally as a treatment for spinal pain, the evidence behind that was uncertain and out of date. We didn’t think that the strong and widespread recommendation to provide advice was reflective of the available evidence. There have been multiple, more recent, trials of advice and education with varying results, so it was a good time to collate and summarise these with a systematic review.

Our main findings were that advice and education had a small effect on pain and disability compared to no advice and education, or placebo in the short term. The effects were around 10 points of improvement for pain and 5 points for disability on a 0 to 100-point scale. There was evidence of no effect at all other time points (immediate, intermediate and long term). The specific content of the advice didn’t seem to make much difference.

We compared simple contemporary advice (such as advice to keep active and to avoid bed rest and reassurance about the positive prognosis) to more comprehensive advice, such as ergonomic advice (specific postural and biomechanical information) or pain neuroscience education, and found them all to be about equally effective. Whether the participants’ symptoms were acute or chronic, the intensity of the intervention in terms of time spent with a therapist, how the intervention was delivered and the depth and type of the content didn’t impact outcomes.

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“Empowered Relief” Program Equips Patients With Effective Pain Relief Skills

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Beth Darnall, PhD

Director, Stanford Pain Relief Innovations Lab
Associate Professor, Stanford University School of Medicine
Department of Anesthesiology, Perioperative and Pain Medicine
Psychiatry and Behavioral Sciences (by courtesy)
Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute (affiliate faculty)
Palo Alto, CA 94304

Dr. Darnall

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Best pain care integrates patient education and tools to help them manage pain and reduce their symptoms1. Multi-session psychological or “behavioral” pain treatment approaches, such as 8-session cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT), are effective for equipping people with pain management skills. However, our prior research showed that patient access to these treatments is often poor, in part due to the costs and time burdens (e.g., up to 16 hours of treatment time).2

Findings from our study suggest that a one-time 2-hour pain relief skills class (“Empowered Relief”) was non-inferior to 8-session CBT for reducing multiple symptoms, including pain catastrophizing, pain intensity, and pain interference at 3 months post-treatment. We also found the single-session pain class imparted substantial reductions for pain bothersome, sleep disturbance, anxiety, fatigue and depression.

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Back Pain: SelfBACK app To Help Patients Find Pain Relief From Self-Managed Program

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Louise Fleng Sandal PhD
Adjunkt, Institut for Idræt og Biomekanik
SDU University of Southern Denmark

Dr. Sandal

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study?

Response: Low back pain is a globally prevalent condition with a high economic cost. Many people seek help with primary care from their general practitioner, physiotherapist or chiropractor. Evidence-based guidelines on first line treatment include learning to self-manage, staying active, exercising and learning about the condition. However, many find this difficult without advice and support, but primary care physicians often lack the time and resources to support self-management.

Digital solutions, such as smartphone technology, utilizing artificial intelligence can be used to tailor self-management support to the individual and be available at the individuals convenience.

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New Implantable Technology Stimulates Spinal Cord for Pain Relief

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Christopher M Proctor, PhD
Group Leader, Bionic Systems Group
BBSRC David Phillips Fellow
Electrical Engineering Division University of Cambridge
United Kingdom

Dr. Proctor

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study?  What types of pain might be amenable to treatment with this device?

Response: Spinal cord stimulation has been shown to be effective for patients with severe neuropathic pain. However, the most effective devices that are clinically available today require a rather invasive surgical procedure. Our innovation aims to reduce the surgical burden while providing the best possible treatment.


PainRelief.com: Would you describe the technology?

Spinal Implant – Unrolling

Response: Our minimally invasive spinal cord stimulator is an ultra thin implant that can be inserted into the epidural space within the spinal column through a needle. Once in place, the device can be expanded in a controlled way to cover a large area along the spinal cord.  Covering a large area allows for more precise targeting of the nerves that cause you to feel pain.

PainRelief.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: We believe that this technology could vastly expand the use of spinal cord stimulation for patients with chronic pain conditions.  We are currently fundraising to conduct further pre-clinical testing with an aim to be ready for clinical testing within 3 years.

Any disclosures? The main authors of this study are co-inventors on a related patent application.

Citation:

Electronics with shape actuation for minimally invasive spinal cord stimulation

BY BEN J. WOODINGTON, VINCENZO F. CURTO, YI-LIN YU, HÉCTOR MARTÍNEZ-DOMÍNGUEZ, LAWRENCE COLES, GEORGE G. MALLIARAS, CHRISTOPHER M. PROCTOR, DAMIANO G. BARONE

SCIENCE ADVANCES 25 JUN 2021 : EABG7833

The information on PainRelief.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.

Ketorolac vs Ibuprofen for Acute Low Back Pain Relief

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Benjamin W. Friedman, MD, MS, FAAEM, FACEP, FAHS
Professor of Emergency Medicine
Vice-chair for Clinical Investigation
Department of Emergency Medicine
Albert Einstein College of Medicine
Montefiore 
Bronx, NY 10467

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: A very large number of patients present to US EDs annually with back pain. No medications have proven more effective than NSAIDs for low back pain. Similarly, combining other medications such as skeletal muscle relaxants or opioids with NSAIDs does not improve outcomes more than NSAIDs alone.

Prior to our study, little was known about which NSAIDs were most efficacious for acute low back pain.

The main finding of our study is that ketorolac was more efficacious than ibuprofen for some two and five day outcomes that are important for patients.

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Routine Lumbar X-Rays of Limited Value in Assessing Low Back Pain

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Lingxiao Chen
 | MBBS, MMed, PhD Candidate
The University of Sydney
Institute of Bone and Joint Research | The Kolling Institute
Sydney Medical School | Faculty of Medicine and Health
Statistical Editor of BMJ Open Sport & Exercise Medicine

back pain

PainRelief.com: What is the background for this study?

Response: Current guidelines for treatment of low back pain (LBP) do not recommend routinely using diagnostic imaging, except when patients either present with severe, progressive neurologic deficits or with signs or symptoms indicative of a serious or specific underlying condition (eg, fracture or cancer). Nonetheless, diagnostic imaging is still widely used in clinical practice for low back pain. Previous studies, using mostly cross-sectional data, provide conflicting evidence of an association between lumbar spine radiographic changes and the severity of back pain–related disability. Such conflicting evidence may be associated with widely unnecessary diagnostic imaging of the lumbar spine.

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No Pain Relief Found With Paracetamol (acetaminophen) for Acute Back Pain

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Christina Abdel Shaheed PhD
Researcher and Academic
University of Sydney

Dr. Abdel Shaheed

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: Paracetamol (acetaminophen) is one of the most widely used drugs for pain relief globally. Our study (https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.5694/mja2.50992) examined the evidence on the efficacy of paracetamol versus placebo for 44 different pain conditions. There is strong evidence paracetamol provides greater pain relief than placebo for four conditions: craniotomy, knee or hip osteoarthritis, tension headache and perineal pain following childbirth, however sometimes the effects were very small.

Paracetamol was no more effective than placebo for acute low back pain. There is uncertainty regarding the benefits of paracetamol for the remaining 39 pain conditions. To note, most studies evaluated single doses of the pain reliever, which does not reflect typical use of the medicine.


PainRelief.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: If people are considering paracetamol for their pain, the recommendation is to:

  • Stick within the safe limits for using paracetamol (maximum 4 g daily for adults, which will vary depending on the formulation used).
  • Bear in mind there are different types of paracetamol products (long-acting, which should be taken less frequently, versus short-acting); and cold and flu preparations (including decongestant) and popular over-the-counter products for pain relief (including ibuprofen) can also contain paracetamol.
  • Do not use paracetamol for more than a few days at a time unless specifically advised to by a doctor or pharmacist.
  • Consider combining the medicine with other non-drug strategies to optimise pain relief, particularly for conditions like osteoarthritis e.g. exercise and healthy eating.

PainRelief.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: High quality clinical trials evaluating typical use of paracetamol are needed to resolve the uncertainty around its effectiveness for the majority of pain conditions.

Disclosures: Some of the authors on this study were also involved in the PACE trial which evaluated the efficacy of paracetamol vs placebo for acute low back pain.

Citation:

Abdel Shaheed, C., Ferreira, G.E., Dmitritchenko, A., McLachlan, A.J., Day, R.O., Saragiotto, B., Lin, C., Langendyk, V., Stanaway, F., Latimer, J., Kamper, S., McLachlan, H., Ahedi, H. and Maher, C.G. (2021), The efficacy and safety of paracetamol for pain relief: an overview of systematic reviews. Med J Aust, 214: 324-331. https://doi.org/10.5694/mja2.50992

The information on PainRelief.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.

Elevated Mortality Risk for Women with Back Pain

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Eric Roseen, DC, MSc
Director of the Program for Integrative Medicine and Health Disparities
Boston Medical Center
Assistant Professor of Family Medicine
Boston University School of Medicine

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study?

Response: More than 80 percent of Americans will experience back pain at some point in their lives. Back pain is the leading cause of disability worldwide, and disability and inactivity are generally associated with greater mortality. Women and older adults, and those that experience more severe or persistent back pain, have an elevated risk of back-related disability. We were interested in whether back pain, in general or in these potentially at-risk subgroups, is associated with mortality. Thus, we conducted the first systematic literature review and meta-analysis of the association of back pain and all-cause mortality.

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Back Pain Relief: Skin Impedance Measurements Can Help Identify Trigger Points

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Giovanni Barassi PhD

Center for Physiotherapy, Rehabilitation and Reeducation
Center of Sports Medicine
“G.d’Annnunzio” University
Chieti, Italy

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study?

Response: Our research started with the observations made during standard clinical practice concerning the inefficiency of standard physiotherapeutic procedures used for pain relief in chronic nonspecific low back pain, a scourge of modern times, particularly in industrialized countries. Therefore, the need has arisen to search for new approaches in the evaluation and treatment of musculoskeletal problems.

Chronic low back pain is clinically manifest as the pain between rib margins and folds of the inferior gluteus muscle. It usually results from an incorrect lifestyle, typical of modern society having too little physical activity, too much psycho-physical stress, and poor management of body weight. On the background of osteopathic medicine, we developed a concept of the dysfunctional flow of body fluids as a plausible underlier of low back pain, referring by and large to spine bony structures.

It has been shown that alterations in afferent activity coming from visceral, structural, and emotional nociception converge in the same metamers of the spinal cord, resulting in information noise and jam. The final motor output of the reflex arc encompasses somatic, myofascial, and connective tissue responses, with the inevitably added influence of the autonomic nervous system. There also are studies demonstrating the importance of interpreting myofascial dysfunction, not as an isolated local phenomenon but rather as an expression of the central nervous activity. Therefore, a concept has been shaped of somatic and myofascial dysfunction, currently gaining increasing recognition among physicians, osteopaths, and physiotherapists, the professionals dealing with tissue and joint manipulation. The practical crux of the issue is the identification of the “major dysfunction” site, expressing the specific spinal information jam.

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Chiropractic Manual Therapy for Chronic Low Back Pain Relief

PainRelief.com Interview with:
Kylie Isenburg
Athinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging
Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston, MA

PainRelief.com:  What is the background for this study?  What are the main findings?

Response: Chronic low back pain (cLBP) is the leading cause for disability worldwide, with a lack of efficacious non-pharmacological treatments. Back pain doesn’t just effect the back. Recent investigations using brain imaging have shown changes in brain structure and function in cLBP patients. Therefore, there is a growing interest in how different non-pharmacological therapies might impact cLBP by studying alterations in brain function that follow such therapies.

For our project, we assessed resting brain connectivity for a specific set of regions known as the Salience Network, a network involved in detection of salient information that arises from continuous sensory input. We assessed Salience network connectivity pre- and post- a single session of Manual Therapy (MT), a chiropractic manipulation technique used to treat a range of musculoskeletal disorders. We found that manual therapy reduced clinical low back pain intensity after a single-session. Additionally, assessment of two different grades of MT; Spinal Manipulation and Spinal Mobilization, suggested that Manipulation increases connectivity of the Salience Network to the Primary Motor Cortex and the Thalamus. Furthermore, the reduction in low back pain post-MT was associated with increased Salience connectivity to the lateral Prefrontal Cortex. These findings suggest modulation of sensorimotor, affective, and cognitive regions of the brain via Manual Therapy may play an important role in reducing Chronic low back pain. 

PainRelief.com: What should readers take away from your report?

Response: Our report suggests that non-pharmacological therapies, specifically Manual Therapy, can be successful in reducing chronic low back pain intensity. It also suggests that brain changes following Manual Therapy are important, and specifically that changes in Salience network connectivity to brain regions important for processing sensory, affective, and cognitive information might underly this reduction in low back pain.

Altogether this work promotes increased investigation into brain-based mechanisms by which Manual Therapy can reduce chronic low back pain.

PainRelief.com: What recommendations do you have for future research as a result of this work?

Response: Following this study, we have a better idea of what a single manual therapy session can accomplish, but assessment of the long-term effects of a series of MT sessions will be useful in allowing for a better understanding of its efficacy in treating low back pain. Additionally, clinical trials assessing manual therapy against other treatment modalities can allow for direct comparisons against the current standard of care approaches. 

Citation:

Kylie Isenburg, Ishtiaq Mawla, Marco L. Loggia, Dan-Mikael Ellingsen, Ekaterina Protsenko, Matthew H. Kowalski, David Swensen, Deanna O’Dwyer-Swensen, Robert R. Edwards, Vitaly Napadow, Norman Kettner,

Increased salience network connectivity following manual therapy is associated with reduced pain in chronic low back pain patients,
The Journal of Pain, 202

The information on PainRelief.com is provided for educational purposes only, and is in no way intended to diagnose, cure, or treat any medical or other condition. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health and ask your doctor any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. In addition to all other limitations and disclaimers in this agreement, service provider and its third party providers disclaim any liability or loss in connection with the content provided on this website.