Sunday, 26 May 2013

Back Pain Breakthrough - Update

Over the past couple of weeks, as I've had conversations with some patients about the recently released research regarding the use of antibiotics to help some forms of back pain (see earlier blog post), I've encountered some recurring questions. Patients wanted to ask about concerns over the long course of antibiotics required to get results in the study and antibiotic resistance. They also had questions about the quality of the research. Some were also surprised that I would openly talk to them about a back pain treatment that might result in less patients requiring treatment from chiropractors.

It seems to me that concerns over long courses of antibiotic used for treating any condition are real. Antibiotic resistance is an increasing problem. There are serious concerns about how long it will be before antibiotics are no longer effective for many common ailments. I suspect those with chronic, severe pain will be willing to take their chances if such treatment becomes openly available. Over time, if antibiotic resistance continues to develop, this treatment option may not be viable.

I was interested to read a review of this new research on the NHS Choices website. The article was generally complimentary about the quality of the study. It did however raise some questions about the impartiality of a neurosurgeon who has been quoted in much of the popular media in connection with this study. The emphasis now seems to be that further research is required to test the reliability and potential scope of this treatment protocol.

I will continue to talk openly with my patients about this topic. My aim is to help people recover from back pain and other musculoskeletal problems. It seems to me that the type of patients who may benefit from antibiotic treatment, are patients who are less likely to make good progress with standard chiropractic treatment and if there is another potentially more effective treatment option available, I will be very happy to recommend it.

Finally, if you are interested in reading the research in full click here.

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