Danish researchers have discovered that up to 40% of chronic back pain can be cured with antibiotics! Nope, not yoga or chiropractors or massage or surgery, just good old-fashioned antibiotics.
In two recent papers published in the European Spine Journal, researchers from the University of Southern Denmark explained how a bacterial infection inside slipped discs could cause chronic back pain, as well as how a 100 day course of antibiotics is likely to cure chronic back pain.
According to The Guardian, there’s a particular bacteria responsible for this. Doctors tested tissue removed from patients with chronic back pain and discovered:
Nearly half tested positive, and of these, more than 80% carried bugs called Propionibacterium acnes. The microbes are better known for causing acne. They lurk around hair roots and in the crevices in our teeth, but can get into the bloodstream during tooth brushing. Normally they cause no harm, but the situation may change when a person suffers a slipped disc. To heal the damage, the body grows small blood vessels into the disc. Rather than helping, though, they ferry bacteria inside, where they grow and cause serious inflammation and damage to neighbouring vertebrae that shows up on an MRI scan.
But antibiotics can stamp the bacteria out, eventually curing the back pain. Doctors and scientists seem over the moon about this discovery, saying it’s a truly monumental development in the management of back pain. Dr. Peter Hamlyn, a spinal surgeon at University College London Hospital, said:
“This is vast. We are talking about probably half of all spinal surgery for back pain being replaced by taking antibiotics.”
Not only could this new discovery save tons (and tons) of money for both patients and hospitals, it will also provide relief for the scores of people who have been suffering with back pain for years. Dr. Hanne Albert, one of the researchers, said:
“These are people who live a life on the edge because they are so handicapped with pain. We are returning them to a form of normality they would never have expected.”
Amazing, right? Some doctors are even calling for the Danish researchers to be awarded the Nobel Prize for this hugely important discovery that could totally recalibrate how the medical field treats back pain.
Photo: Flickr user Arenamontanus