Effective treatment of back pain

NEWS IN BRIEF — Posted Feb. 13, 2006

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Two small studies point the way to more effective treatment for lower back pain.

A study in the December 2005 Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine found that a wrap that delivers a low level of topical heat for at least eight hours resulted in a significant reduction in pain for the 25 patients monitored. A control group of 18 received education on back therapy and pain management alone.

A second study, published in the February Radiology, found that the imaging procedure single-photon emission-computed tomography was able to identify patients with lower back pain who might benefit from spinal injections with steroids and anesthetics.

These facet joint injections can be a good short-term treatment in some patients, said lead author Spiros G. Pneumaticos, MD, assistant professor of orthopedic surgery at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, but they are relatively expensive and can cause complications.

Note: This item originally appeared at

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