Dec 4, 2013
Antibiotics Could Cure 40 Percent of Chronic Back Pain Patients
Posted on May 9, 2013
Danish scientists have discovered that many cases of chronic back pain are caused by bacterial infections, which means they could be cured cheaply with antibiotics rather than surgery.
Peter Hamlyn, a surgeon at University College London hospital whom The Guardian describes as “[o]ne of the UK’s most eminent spinal surgeons,” said the discovery is the most significant he has witnessed in his career and deserving of a Nobel Prize. “This is vast. We are talking about probably half of all spinal surgery for back pain being replaced by taking antibiotics,” he said.
Specialists have long known that infections are sometimes to blame for chronic back pain, but such cases were thought to be exceptional.
Experts caution that the breakthrough will not help sufferers of normal, acute or sub-acute back pain. But for people with chronic pain, the discovery could radically improve their lives. “These are people who live a life on the edge because they are so handicapped with pain,” said Dr. Hanne Albert of the Danish research team. “We are returning them to a form of normality they would never have expected.”
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
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