3 New Treatments For Chronic Back Pain That Will Surprise You!

Back pain is termed “chronic” when it has been present for over three months. Common causes of back pain include herniated discs, scoliosis, sciatica, and injuries. However, no direct cause for chronic back pain is known. It is believed to stem from the aforementioned conditions. Therefore, treatments for chronic back
 pain tend to be a mix of painkillers and surgeries. In the last two years, new treatment options have appeared that shed light on possible causes for chronic back pain. 


Sir Alexander Fleming, credited with discovering the first antibiotic (penicillin) in 1928, has saved millions of lives around the world. It would difficult to imagine antibiotics being effective in treating chronic back pain, but you’d be surprised! In fact, in almost 50% patients with herniated discs, bacteria was found! To assess whether or not antibiotics would be effective, half of the recruited patients were given 100 days of antibiotic therapy and the other half was given a placebo. Following a year, post treatment, patients reported having less lower back pain!1 However, it should be stressed that this treatment is possible for those who have chronic back pain due to herniated discs. Antibiotics are not recommended otherwise.

Stem Cells

Stem cells have long been debated in terms of their ethical implications. Stem cells are undifferentiated cells – they are capable of becoming virtually any cell in the body. A prime location of stem cells that does not cause much controversy is in the human bone marrow. Using stem cells harvested from one’s own bone marrow, researchers were able to improve back pain. Of the participants, none reported feeling worse back pain after the procedure2. This procedure has been shown to provide relief for up to two years! Unfortunately, it is very expensive, still experimental, and is not covered by major insurances.

Osteopathic Manipulation Treatment

Osteopathic manipulation treatment (OMT) is a hands-on approach to pain management. OMT is not an alternative to contemporary medicine, but is a worthwhile complimen
t to any physical therapy or medication used to treat back pain. Several studies have been performed that show the effectiveness of
 OMT. A particular study found that it was more effective than ultrasound therapy; two thirds of the patients reported significant pain relief after twelve weeks3. Another study found that OMT, when used as a compliment to existing treatments, significantly improves back pain4. These benefits last for three months or more!

Chronic back pain is a difficult condition to manage, yet it is treatable. There are a vast array of options available to allow you to manage your back pain and get on with your life. One thing you can start doing today is exercising more! Before starting any exercise program, you should consult with your doctor to determine which exercises are appropriate for you. Also, be sure to talk to your doctor about these potential treatments to determine whether they may help improve your back pain!

1. http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/news/20130510/antibiotics_back_pain

2. http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/news/20130412/stem-cells-to-relieve-low-back-pain

3. http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/news/20130318/hands-low-back-pain

4. http://www.biomedcentral.com/1471-2474/6/43

Gary Starkman Dr. Starkman, a top Neurologist in NYC, is the Medical Director and founder of New York Neurology Associates. He is Board Certified in Neurology with a subspecialty certification in Pain Medicine.

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