BACK pain could be resigned to the past thanks to a new injection, medics claim.
Researchers found the treatment results in a “significant improvement in pain” for people with agonising lower back aches.
The new therapy works by injecting the padding between spine bones from a healthy donor into patients’ backs.
Dr Douglas Beall, of Clinical Radiology of Oklahoma, said the treatment “might be the answer for many people”.
He said: “Back pain is the leading cause of limited activity and workplace absenteeism.
“This treatment may help patients return to a normal activity level for a longer period of time.”
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Around 40 per cent of over-40s suffer with degenerative disk disease, caused by ageing of the spine, with more than 80 per cent of over-80s developing it.
It is a form of arthritis, where the cartilage between the joints begins to wear out.
The condition causes stiffness and crippling soreness.
Most current treatments focus on treating symptoms, with patients given anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin.
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Dr Beall said: “Existing treatment for chronic low back pain due to degenerative disc disease is often ineffective or the effects are short-lived.
“We need better treatments for this condition since conservative care is not providing the long-term outcomes that patients deserve.”
Researchers tested the new treatment on 46 patients, with six given injections of salt water as a control.
Some 60 per cent of those given the treatment felt their pain decreased by at least 50 per cent.
How can I ease back pain myself?
Back pain often improves on its own within a few weeks. There are things you can do to help speed up your recovery.
- stay active and try to continue with your daily activities
- take anti-inflammatory medicine like ibuprofen – paracetamol on its own is not recommended for back pain but it may be used with another painkiller
- use an ice pack (or bag of frozen peas) wrapped in a tea towel to reduce pain and swelling
- use a heat pack (or hot water bottle) wrapped in a tea towel to relieve joint stiffness or muscle spasms
- try doing some exercises and stretches for back pain
Source: The NHS
None suffered side effects.
The research was presented at the Society of Interventional Radiology Annual Scientific Meeting in Phoenix.
It comes as another study showed knee pain caused by arthritis could also be dramatically reduced with a new treatment that sends heat through the nerves.
Dr Kaitlin Carrato, of MedStar Georgetown University Hospital, said the therapy is “particularly helpful for those over 50 years old”.
Around one in five adults in Britain suffer knee pain, with the condition particularly prevalent in older people.
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The new treatment works by using needles to send radio waves that destroy the nerve ending in the knee that send pain signals to the brain.
It was tested on 36 patients in the US, reducing pain by up to 41 per cent.
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