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Avoiding Surgery for Low Back Pain
Date:2/2/2009

Many patients may benefit more from non-invasive treatments

ROSEMONT, Ill., Feb. 2 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The simplest method for treating low back pain may actually be the best method. A literature study published in the February 2009 issue of The Journal of the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons (http://www.jaaos.org/) finds that in most cases of symptomatic lumbar degenerative disk disease, a common cause of low back pain, the most effective treatment is simply a combination of physical therapy and anti-inflammatory medication.

Symptomatic lumbar degenerative disc disease occurs when a disc weakens, often due to the effects of aging, repetitive strain or injury to the disc space. The result is that the disc cannot hold the vertebrae as well as it used to, and that lack of stability can cause low back pain. In some cases, the pain is great enough that the patient may seek treatment from an orthopaedic surgeon. These treatments can include a range of noninvasive and invasive/surgical options.

According to the review findings:

1. 90 percent of patients with low back pain will see their symptoms fade on their own within three months.

2. Most of those patients will recover within six weeks.

Therefore, the researchers determined that, barring an emergency, the initial treatment of all patients with low back pain should be noninvasive.

"Recently, disc replacement surgery has been proposed as a cure or treatment for symptomatic lumbar disc disease," says Luke Madigan, M.D., an attending physician at Knoxville Orthopaedic Clinic, Knoxville, TN, and the lead author of the review. "But the FDA studies on lumbar disc replacement have only so far shown equivalence to fusion for discogenic disease. Long-term outcomes are still to be published and caution should
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SOURCE American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
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