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THE ANTIBIOTIC JAB FOR BACK PAIN…

The Daily Mail wrote that Doctors in the UK are testing whether a one-off jab of a new drug known as PP353 can ease — and even cure — the chronic lower back pain that affects millions.

The antibiotic kills bacteria that normally cause acne but have also been found hiding in the damaged spinal discs of patients with back pain.

Three people have already been treated, and one has said that a ‘dramatic’ reduction in pain means he can go swimming again.

Common causes of back pain include slipped discs, arthritis and spinal stenosis (where bones press on nerves) but there are growing evidence bacteria also play a role.

In a landmark 2013 study, Danish researchers found that in up to 40 per cent of patients with slipped discs, the damaged discs were infected with Cutibacterium acnes bacteria.

The discs are spongy pieces of tissue that sit between and cushion the bones of the spine. When one slips or herniates, most commonly due to age-related wear and tear, part of its softcore bulges out and can press on nearby nerves.

Cutibacterium acnes normally causes acne but is also found in the mouth and can get into the bloodstream as a result of poor dental hygiene.

Slipped discs grow small blood vessels as part of the repair process, and it’s thought this is how the bacteria enter the disc explained The Daily UK News.

They then produce an acid that damages the surrounding bones, irritates the nerves and causes inflammation, leading to pain.

Studies have shown that oral antibiotics can help ease the pain. But much of the drug is broken down before it reaches the spine, so the tablets have to be taken for at least three months to be effective. 

Such prolonged use raises the risk of side effects including diarrhoea, abdominal pain and loss of appetite, as well as concerns about antibiotic resistance, where bacteria develop the ability to defeat drugs meant to kill them.

The new treatment, developed by Kent-based Persica Pharmaceuticals, involves injecting the PP353 antibiotic into the disc. This maximises the amount of the drug that reaches the bacteria, allowing patients to be treated with a single injection, in turn reducing the risk of side effects and antibiotic resistance.

Once injected, PP353 solidifies, which ensures it stays within the disc, stopping the bacteria from growing and causing pain.

A preliminary trial at hospitals in Preston and Coventry found it to be safe and well tolerated. A larger trial, involving 40 patients, is now underway.

Michael McNicholas, a consultant orthopaedic surgeon at Liverpool University Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, said that the successful treatment of lower back pain with antibiotics could make surgery for it obsolete.

He added: ‘This groundbreaking work could transform life for millions of patients suffering from chronic back pain.’

Let’s hope the 40 trial patients now undergoing this procedure have great pain relief as lower back pain at the moment is reaching epidemic level due to Covid-19.

Source: The Daily UK News The Daily Mail

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6 SIMPLE TREATMENTS TO HELP WITH BACK PAIN…

Back pain can be a nightmare. People suffering from chronic back pain are usually

willing to try anything just to make the pain go away. They may try acupuncture, and

if that doesn’t work, they may try hydrotherapy, and if that fails too, it’ll be the next

method or another.

In most cases, it’s not just one method that helps. A combination of methods to treat

the problem on different fronts may be the only option. Acute back pain is usually

treated initially with a few holistic measures which could include –

REST

This is the best short-term solution, but I stress the short-term solution. If you have a

bad back, rest is essential for the healing process. You’ll need to lie down, but you

shouldn’t lie down for too long because it increases pressure on the spinal discs.

Intermittent rest Is what you’re aiming for. If the pain is bad, lie down for about 15

minutes and get up soon as you can and move around slowly.

A HARD BED

You want to use a firm mattress that provides sufficient support. Do not lie on the

floor because this can exacerbate your condition. Place a pillow under your knees

when lying flat. This will ‘flatten’ your spine and ease the pressure. If you’re lying on

your side, place a pillow between your legs to reduce pressure.

MEDICATION

If the pain is bad due to inflamed spine tissues, you’ll need to use non-steroidal anti-

inflammatory medication (NSAIDs) to help relieve your pain. Some of these

medications are strong and may have side effects such as gastric pain. So always check

with your doctor before taking any.

GLUCOSAMINE

This is a natural remedy and while it will not work overnight, in the long run it can be

very helpful for protecting your cartilage. You can get a bottle of glucosamine at most

supermarkets, Boots or health shop.

LIGHT EXERCISE

This may seem to be the last thing on most people’s minds, but light exercise can

work wonders. Choose low impact activities like Pilates and yoga. The goal will be to

strengthen your core and back muscles. Thousands of people have watched their back

pain diminish and disappear once they started doing Pilates and yoga. These exercises

will make your body more limber and stronger at the same time.

Any imbalances in your body will also be corrected. For example, if your abs are weak

and your midsection is protruding and placing stress on your back muscles, Pilates

will strengthen your core. With a strong core, you’ll be able to hold your belly in

without your back propping you up. You’ll also lose weight because of the exercise,

and this too will ease your back pain.

STRONGER MEDICATION

Depending on the severity of the pain, the doctor may either give you medication to

to take orally, or you’ll be given an injection in the affected area. These are temporary

measures to relieve the pain, but can last a few weeks to a few months. However it’s a

post code lottery if you can have the injections so try not to become to reliant on them

like I did. You’ll still need to find other methods to help improve the situation.

These are some of the common remedies for acute back pain. Of course, there are

other methods such as nerve pills, muscle relaxant pills, multivitamins, etc. However,

these merely treat the symptoms. A good physiotherapist/ chiropractor/ osteopath or

pain clinic are a great place to start your treatment.