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Hands-On Therapy May Spell Relief for Low Back Pain
Date:3/18/2013

received ultrasound therapy did not show a reduction in pain or in the prescription medications they took," Kearns said. "Based on these results, I would not recommend ultrasound therapy for low back pain."

The findings appear in the March/April issue of the journal Annals of Family Medicine.

Of the more than 450 people in the study with chronic low back pain, those who received OMT also were more likely to be satisfied with the results of their treatment than were their counterparts who received ultrasound therapy. That said, there were no differences seen for function, general health or work-related disability between the groups, the study showed.

Dr. Kenneth Johnson, executive dean of the Ohio University Heritage College of Osteopathic Medicine, in Athens, is a fan of OMT for low back pain. The new study "validates some of the work we do on a day-to-day basis," he said. "I feel confident that OMT helps relieve back pain and, as a result, patients have to take less medication."

Less medication means fewer side effects, Johnson added.

Another expert noted that there are a lot more ways to treat lower back pain than just ultrasound and OMT.

The first step is to take a full history and do a physical exam to determine the cause of the back pain, said Dr. Michael Mizhiritsky, co-founder of New York Bone and Joint Specialists, in New York City. "Is it joint-related, disc-related or arthritis? Is there anything broken?" he asked.

Depending on what is causing the pain, there are a host of treatment options, including ice or heat, physical therapy, exercise, stretching, injections and, sometimes, surgery, Mizhiritsky said.

More information

Learn more about low back pain and its treatments at the U.S. National Institutes of Health.

SOURCES: Kenneth Johnson, D.O., executive dean,
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