Chronic Low Back Pain Treatments

According to several studies (e.g., Andersson 1999), chronic low back pain is back pain that lasts 8 – 12 weeks or longer. For chronic back pain sufferers, spontaneous improvement is infrequent and various treatments include exercise, bed rest, electrical acupuncture, epidural injections, and more invasive surgical treatments. All of these treatments are of unproven benefit (Deyo, et al. 1986; Weinstein, et al. 2006).

Systemic treatment with either analgesics or muscle relaxants for symptomatic relief has variable results. These treatment modalities may also be associated with significant risks. For example, gastrointestinal erosions or bleeding can occur with the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications. Significant sedation can result from the use of muscle relaxants and can limit normal activities of daily living or work (e.g., driving, operating machinery, etc.).

Other treatment options for chronic low back pain include transcutaneous nerve stimulator devices (TENS) and acupuncture. Both treatments have had varied results. In fact, TENS treatment has little effect above placebo in patients with chronic low back pain (Brosseau, et al. 2002).

In the absence of systemic disease, cancer or neurological involvement, most of chronic low back pain arises from degenerative changes in the facet joints and/or disc degeneration. Therefore, there is significant room for new non-invasive, non-powered, non-magnetic, non-pharmacologic products that can be used with other treatment regimens for the relief of low back and other pain syndromes.

The Energeze Back Patch excels in providing patients with chronic low back pain a different treatment option. It can be used on its own or in combination with other treatments in order to give the patient an increased opportunity to lead an active lifestyle.

To learn more about how the Energeze Patch can help patients with chronic low back pain, visit energeze.com.

Pain Hypersensitivity and Chronic Pain Syndromes

Pain systems need to be sensitive enough to detect potentially harmful stimuli.  But often they become too sensitive, causing pain from stimuli that are not harmful.  The mechanisms of this sensitization are beginning to be understood.  Pain hypersensitivity takes two forms:

  • Thresholds are lowered so that stimuli that would normally not produce pain now do so (allodynia).
  • Responsiveness is increased, so that noxious stimuli produce an exaggerated and prolonged pain (hyperalgesia).

Pain hypersensitivity after an injury ensures that contact with the injured tissue is minimized until repair is complete is an adaptive response.  However, pain hypersensitivity may persist long after an injury has healed or occur in the absence of any injury.  In this case, pain provides no protective benefit, and is a manifestation of pathological change in the nervous system.  Two mechanisms that produce pain hypersensitivity are involved: peripheral and central sensitization.  “Sensitization” indicates an increase in the excitability of neurons, which become more sensitive to sensory input. (1) continue reading →

Osteoarthritis Knee Pain Management

Pain management can often be tricky, as there is considerable overlap of pain mechanisms in the clinical context. Take, for example, the pain of osteoarthritis (OA). Neuropathic origin is generally not considered a feature of OA pain because peripheral nerve injury has not been observed. However, there might be a neuropathic component to OA pain. (1)

In a study of patients with OA of both knees, intra-articular local anesthetic injection in one knee resulted in pain relief in both knees in some patients. This result suggests that, in addition to local mechanisms, there may be central mechanisms to OA pain. (2)  That central sensitization may also play a role in OA pain is suggested by a poor correlation between radiographic evidence of joint damage and severity of pain. (3,4)

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