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Acetaminophen may not relieve back pain
July 24th, 2014
02:07 PM ET

Acetaminophen may not relieve back pain

Doctors often suggest taking acetaminophen for low back pain relief. But according to a new study, the popular painkiller isn’t any more effective in alleviating an aching back than letting the pain naturally subside.

A study published Thursday in The Lancet found patients who took acetaminophen for low back pain had the same recovery time as those who took a placebo, or sugar pill. The study was partially funded by GlaxoSmithKline, a company that manufactures drugs containing acetaminophen.

Researchers in Australia looked at 1,643 patients with acute low back pain. Each was assigned to a different group for the experiment. The first group of 550 patients took six 665-milligram tablets of acetaminophen a day as well as one to two placebo tablets.
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Why your back, feet hurt: blame evolution
February 20th, 2013
03:39 PM ET

Why your back, feet hurt: blame evolution

The fact that many people's backs and feet hurt is news that's millions of years old.

It's because of the way we have evolved, uniquely from other mammals, that we also have a lot of aches and pains that our close relatives do not experience, anthropologists said last weekend at a briefing at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual meeting.

"We’ve known for a long time, since Darwin’s time, that humans have evolved, and that humans are not perfect, because evolution doesn’t produce perfection," said Jeremy DeSilva, anthropologist at Boston University.

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Heavy backpacks can trigger back pain
Experts recommend a backpack weigh less than 15% of a child's body weight.
August 8th, 2012
11:26 AM ET

Heavy backpacks can trigger back pain

It’s back-to-school time, and children nationwide will be lugging books to and from classes, many of them wearing backpacks.

But beware: Those heavy bags draped over your child’s shoulders could be the source of acute or even chronic back pain, says Dr. David Marshall, Medical Director for Children’s Health Care of Atlanta Sports Medicine Program.

“It’s estimated about 40 million kids are going to be carrying backpacks, and we’re starting to see more and more back pain complaints from the doctors in the sports medicine program,” states Marshall. FULL POST


July 4th, 2011
05:00 PM ET

Got lower back pain? Massage may help!

Americans spend at least $50 billion each year to treat lower back pain, the second most common neurological problem in the U.S. after headaches, according to the National Institutes of Health.

A new study in the Annals of Internal Medicine finds that massage may be an effective therapy for treating lower back pain, when compared with conventional medical treatment.

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March 23rd, 2011
06:54 PM ET

What could be causing my husband's hip and lower back pain?

Every weekday, a CNNHealth expert doctor answers a viewer question. On Wednesdays, it's Dr. Otis Brawley, chief medical officer at the American Cancer Society.

Asked by Jessica Diebold, Boston

Last winter, my husband fell on some ice. Instead of landing on his backside, he landed on his left hip. He was in a great deal of pain in both the hip and lower back, and went to an ER for X-rays, which came back negative. The pain persisted for the following two weeks, and eventually he was referred to an orthopedic surgeon, who did MRIs and a bone scan (both negative). After a round of PT with no decrease in pain, he was referred to a physiatrist, who diagnosed traumatic facet syndrome.

After another round of PT and injections to numb the spinal nerves, my husband is still in pain. He was referred to another physiatrist, who still insists it is facet joint syndrome and prescribed daily light stretching. The pain is getting worse, not better, and even taking a pain medication like Percocet does not totally relieve his pain. Is there anything else this could be? Do we go for a fourth opinion?

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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.

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