The Back Pain Epidemic.

Low back and neck pain is an increasingly widespread and expensive condition worldwide, costing the US alone $88bn a year – the third highest bill for any health condition.

Version 2

Millions of people worldwide suffer from low back and neck pain, most of it unexplained, although some professionals think it may be worsened by sitting at desks all day, carrying bags and general bad posture. Episodes of acute pain are very common, but experts say that medical investigations only make things worse and the best cure is often to take painkillers, exercise gently and wait for the pain to pass. Continue reading The Back Pain Epidemic.

Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment for Low Back Pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment (OMT) significantly reduces low back pain. The level of pain reduction is greater than expected from placebo effects alone and persists for at least three months. Additional research is warranted to elucidate mechanistically how OMT exerts its effects, to determine if OMT benefits are long lasting, and to assess the cost-effectiveness of OMT as a complementary treatment for low back pain. Continue reading Osteopathic Manipulative Treatment for Low Back Pain: a systematic review and meta-analysis of randomized controlled trials

Glucosamine for Osteoarthritis

This summary of a Cochrane review presents what we know from research about the effect of Glucosamine on Osteoarthritis

People with Osteoarthritis who take Glucosamine:

– may reduce their pain

– may improve their physical function

– will probably not have side effects

What is osteoarthritis and glucosamine?

Osteoarthritis (OA) is the most common form of arthritis that can affect the hands, hips, shoulders and knees. In OA, the cartilage that protects the ends of the bones breaks down and causes pain and swelling. Drug and non-drug treatments are used to relieve pain and/or swelling. Continue reading Glucosamine for Osteoarthritis

Acupuncture Point P6 stimulation prevents postoperative Nausea and Vomiting with few Side Effects

Postoperative nausea and vomiting (PONV) are two of the most common complications after anaesthesia and surgery.

Drugs are only partially effective in preventing PONV and may cause adverse effects.

Alternative methods, such as stimulating an Acupuncture point on the wrist (P6 acupoint stimulation), have been studied in many trials.

The use of P6 acupoint stimulation can reduce the risk of nausea and vomiting after surgery, with minimal side effects. The risks of postoperative nausea and vomiting were similar after P6 acupoint stimulation and antiemetic drugs.

Cochrane Reports, Published January 19, 2011

Vitamin D and related vitamin D compounds for preventing fractures resulting from Osteoporosis in older People.

Vitamin D is necessary for building bone. Older people often have low vitamin D levels through lack of exposure to sunlight and low dietary intake. Therefore, it has been suggested that taking additional vitamin D supplements may help to reduce the risk of hip and other fractures, which are very common in older people.

This Cochrane Review included 45 trials with 84,585 participants. The review found that taking vitamin D alone is unlikely to prevent fracture. Vitamin D taken with additional calcium supplements does appear to reduce risk of hip fractures in people living in institutional care. Although the risk of harmful effects from vitamin D and calcium is small, some people, particularly with kidney stones, kidney disease or high blood calcium, should seek medical advice before taking these supplements.

Can Herbal Medicine help with Low Back Pain ?

Significance of this Cochrane Review. Back Pain is common, affecting as much as 35% of the population in a given month. Non-specific low-back pain is defined as pain between the lowest rib and the bottom of the buttocks that is not caused by serious, underlying problems such as rheumatoid arthritis, infection, fracture, cancer, or sciatica due to a herniated disc or other pressure on nerves. Oral and topical herbal medicines are being used to treat many conditions; several are used for back pain and have been tested in clinical trials. Continue reading Can Herbal Medicine help with Low Back Pain ?

Vitamin D crisis in the UK

The UK is having a vitamin D crisis.

Rickets, a disease that we thought had vanished along with small boys being sent up chimneys, is re-emerging.  A 2006 study of Paediatricians in the West Midlands found an overall incidence of rickets in approximately 8 children per 100,000, with a much higher prevalence in populations from South Asian, Africa and the Caribbean.

At the other end of the scale, with an ageing population, Osteoporosis is on the rise.  The National Osteoporosis Society estimates that 50% of women and 20% of men over the age of 50 will suffer some kind of bone fracture due to Osteoporosis.

Many people are aware that vitamin D is implicated in bone health.  Some people know that “You can get it from Sunshine”.  A few people know what foods it is found in.    Continue reading Vitamin D crisis in the UK

Tension Headaches helped with Acupuncture

Patients with tension-type headache suffer from episodes of pain which is typically bilateral (affects both sides of the head), pressing or tightening in quality, mild to moderate in intensity, and which does not worsen with routine physical activity.

In most patients tension-type headache occurs infrequently and there is no need for further treatment beyond over-the-counter pain killers. In some patients, however, tension-type headache occurs on several days per month or even daily.

Acupuncture is used in many countries for tension-type headache prophylaxis – that is, to reduce the frequency and intensity of tension-type headaches. The Cochrane Group reviewed 11 trials which investigated whether acupuncture is effective in the prophylaxis of tension-type headache. Continue reading Tension Headaches helped with Acupuncture

Acupuncture for Migraine Headaches

Migraine patients suffer from recurrent attacks of mostly one-sided, severe headache.

Acupuncture is a therapy in which thin needles are inserted into the skin at defined points; it originates from China. Acupuncture is used in many countries for migraine prophylaxis – that is, to reduce the frequency and intensity of migraine attacks.

We reviewed 22 trials which investigated whether acupuncture is effective in the prophylaxis of migraine. Six trials investigating whether adding acupuncture to basic care (which usually involves only treating acute headaches) found that those patients who received acupuncture had fewer headaches. Continue reading Acupuncture for Migraine Headaches