CHICAGO, Ill. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — Sixteen million adults in the U.S. suffer with chronic back pain. But a new study reports that a surgery typically done in patients over 60 can help people of all ages with their chronic back pain. We have details on why to solve back problems, you might want to look at the hip first.
Thirty-one-year-old Jennifer O’Neill loves to live an active lifestyle. But three years ago, she was slowed down by hip pain followed by back pain two and a half years later.
“Just bending down, reaching forward to tie my shoes felt like someone was stabbing me in the back,” explained O’Neill.
But a new study found that patients who have hip and lower back pain may be able to treat both conditions with a hip replacement.
“A lot of times we will do the hips first and as a result of that, the back issues improve,” said Scott Sporer, MD, a joint replacement surgeon, at Midwest Orthopaedics at Rush.
The researchers found 82 percent of patients who reported pain in their lower back before hip replacement surgery said their back pain disappeared after hip surgery. The patients who tend to benefit most from this are those with flexible spines.
“Your back is flexible as your hips are flexible,” continued Dr. Sporer.
But since hip implants usually need to be replaced after 20 years, would hip surgery be a good option for someone as young as O’Neill?
“Those materials have changed quite dramatically over the years to where now we’re just not seeing the problems that we had 15, 20 years ago. This may very well be a life-long hip for her,” Dr. Sporer stated.
When Dr. Sporer told O’Neill that having a hip replacement would solve both her hip and back pain, she was all in.
“I don’t want to be like not being able to make plans and stuff when I’m 31,” said O’Neill.
And two weeks after surgery …
“I already felt better than I had in three years. Like it was amazing. Being able to sit without pain coming on for like ten minutes in was like incredible,” smiled O’Neill.
The study did find that patients with stiff spines did not have their back problems resolved most likely due to serious arthritis of the spine. Dr. Sporer said most of his patients are able to return to normal activities, including running, three months after surgery.
Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; Roque Correa, Editor; and Kirk Manson, Videographer.
HIP SURGERY TO CURE BACK PAIN?
BACKGROUND: About 31 million Americans experience low back pain at any given time. Back pain is the single leading cause of disability, preventing many people from engaging in work as well as other everyday activities. It can affect people of all ages, from adolescents to the elderly, and is the third most common reason for doctor visits. The back is a structure of bones compiled of joints, ligaments, and muscles. You can sprain ligaments, strain muscles, rupture disks, and irritate joints, all of which lead to back pain. Sports injuries or accidents are the most common cause of back pain, however, sometimes the simplest of movement like picking up a pencil from the floor, can have painful results. In addition, arthritis, poor posture, obesity, and psychological stress can cause or complicate back pain. Back pain can be the result from disease of the internal organs, such as kidney stones, kidney infections, blood clots, or bone loss.
HIP SURGERY HELPING BACK PAIN: Researchers at the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City studied 500 patients who underwent hip replacement surgery to see if it also affected low back pain. They followed up with them one-year post-surgery and found over 40% reported pain in their lower back prior to hip surgery. Of that group, 82% saw their back pain vanish after surgery. It was “completely gone,” said Dr. Jonathan Vigdorchik, a hip and knee surgeon at the hospital. He and the other researchers wanted to find out how effective a hip replacement could be in eliminating low back pain, and determine which patients were more likely to benefit. The patients whose low back pain resolved after the surgery were those with “flexible spines,” according to Vigdorchik. When a person’s spine is flexible, a stiff or poorly functioning hip can drive the spine to move more than usual, causing pain. In this study, researchers took X-rays of their patients standing up and sitting down, both before and after the surgery. These X-rays allowed them to see how the hip and spine moved in relation to each other and assessed the flexibility of their spine. It also helped to identify patients whose ailing backs may be relieved by a hip replacement.
NEW THERAPY SHOWS REDUCTION IN BACK PAIN: A new study has found that tanezumab, a monoclonal antibody that inhibits nerve activity, provides relief in patients with chronic low back pain. “This demonstration of efficacy is a major breakthrough in the global search to develop non-opioid treatments for chronic pain,” said John Markman, MD, director of the Translational Pain Research Program at the University of Rochester Medical Center (URMC) Department of Neurosurgery. This is the first study that shows long-term relief for chronic low back pain with a single dose delivered under the skin once every two months. The study was conducted in 191 sites across eight countries in North America, Europe, and Asia. Tanezumab has not been associated with serious adverse side effects seen with opioids or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), often used to treat low back pain. However, this class of drugs has been linked to joint problems, which are sometimes serious enough to require joint replacement. Because of this concern, the researchers followed participants for an extended period and determined there was a low rate of serious joint problems requiring joint replacement.
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Ann Pitcher, Pitcher Communications
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