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Pain is a silent epidemic in the United States. An estimated 50 million Americans live with chr…
The longer someone remains overweight, the more “irreversible” obesity may become according to a new study in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.
Desperate for help, many obese people are piling on the pounds and putting their health at greater risk in order to qualify for weight loss surgery with their health insurance companies.
An American Academy of Neurology Guideline finds that transcutaneous electric nerve stimulation (TENS), a widely used pain therapy device, is not recommended to treat chronic low-back pain that has persisted for three months or longer?because research shows it is not effective. The guideline is published in the December 30, 2009, online issue of Neurology®, the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology.
Back pain—both acute and chronic—is the second most common neurologic ailment in the United States, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, and is the most common cause of job-related disability. About 60 percent of people with diabetes will develop neuropathy.
TENs Therapy for Chronic Low Back Pain
With TENS, a portable, pocket-sized unit applies a mild electrical current to the nerves through electrodes. TENS has been used for pain relief in various disorders for years. Researchers do not know how TENS may provide relief for pain. One theory is that nerves can only carry one signal at a time. The TENS stimulation may confuse the brain and block the real pain signal from getting through.
Research on TENS for chronic low-back pain has produced conflicting results. For the guideline, the authors reviewed all of the evidence for low-back pain lasting three months or longer. Acute low-back pain was not studied. The studies to date show that TENS does not help with chronic low-back pain.
All but one of the studies excluded people with known causes of low-back pain, such as obesity, a pinched nerve, severe spondylolisthesis (displacement of a backbone or vertebra) or severe scoliosis (curving of the spine). In the one study that looked at low-back pain associated with known conditions, TENS was not shown to be effective. The only specific neurologic cause of chronic low-back pain where TENS was studied was multiple sclerosis, and TENS was not shown to help.
“The strongest evidence showed that there is no benefit for people using TENS for chronic low-back pain,” said guideline author Richard M. Dubinsky, MD, MPH, of Kansas University Medical Center in Kansas City. “Doctors should use clinical judgment regarding TENS use for chronic low-back pain. People who are currently using TENS for their low-back pain should discuss these findings with their doctors.”
Dubinsky stated further that good evidence showed that TENS can be effective in treating diabetic nerve pain.
Can Back Pain be Predicted? Featured
Predicting Acute Low Back Pain Vs. Chronic Low Back Pain
Low back pain is one of the most common and therefore costly medical problems in industrialized countries. By some estimates, up to 85 percent of Americans have experienced low back pain and research reported in The Journal of Pain showed that pain intensity ratings, pain location and sensory and affective variables differ among individuals with acute and chronic low back pain. In some cases, these factors might be predictive of which acute pain patients may develop chronic pain.
Americans have the lowest rate of walking throughout the entire world, according to a new study on health and fitness.
Less than a quarter of people in the U.S. use some sort of active transportation, such as biking, walking to get where they are going, missing an important opportunity to improve their cardiovascular health, concludes a new study in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine.