Orthopedic News for Patients - Bone & Joint Pain

News for patients with orthopedic conditions & bone and joint pain.

About 80% of Americans have low back pain at some point. It’s usually short-lived, but if yours lingers for weeks or months, you may wonder if surgery would help.  Low back pain has many causes. Often it's linked to one or more of the rubbery disks that normally cushion the vertebrae in your spine. A few things can go wrong. Disks can break down (your doctor may say yours has degenerated), so they're no longer able to provide proper support and cushioning.

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Meditation may work better than painkillers when it comes to soothing chronic low back pain, a new clinical trial suggests. The study found that a program called mindfulness-based stress reduction (MBSR) beat standard medical care for managing low back pain. After one year, people who attended MBSR classes were more than 40 percent likely to show "meaningful" improvements in their pain and daily activities compared to people who sought conventional care for their aching backs.

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More bad news from the U.S. drug wars: Misuse of prescription opioid painkillers by American adults more than doubled from the early 2000s to 2013, a new government study says. Rates of addiction to powerful painkillers such as OxyContin and Vicodin also swelled during that time, according to the U.S. National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA).

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Two new studies out Wednesday cast doubt on whether a common and costly operation used to relieve leg and back pain is always needed. The studies found that the procedure, known as spinal fusion, wasn't any more effective at helping people walk or do daily tasks than a simpler surgery to relieve pressure on squeezed spinal nerves, a condition called spinal stenosis. One study found fusion might improve a patient’s quality of life, though -- a result researchers say is important and should help guide people in their treatment decisions.

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Whole body cryotherapy -- a trendy treatment that has been used for everything from arthritis pain to Alzheimer's -- may pose serious health risks, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration warns. "Based on purported health benefits seen in many promotions for cryotherapy spas, consumers may incorrectly believe that the FDA has cleared or approved [these] devices as safe and effective to treat medical conditions," Dr.

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The recent overdose death of rock legend Prince has brought renewed focus on the dangers posed by synthetic opioids -- laboratory-created narcotics tweaked by chemists to produce potentially lethal highs while skirting U.S. drug laws. Prince Rogers Nelson, 57, died April 21 from an overdose of fentanyl, a drug often used to quell pain in cancer patients when traditional opioids prove ineffective.

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People who have total hip or knee replacement surgery face a greater risk for a heart attack during the first month following the procedure, a new study finds. The chances of a heart attack were more than eight times greater in the first 30 days after total knee replacement surgery compared to people who didn't have the procedure.

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Many Americans have suffered through an ankle break or sprain, but new research suggests these injuries might have a larger effect on health. The study, based on a survey of thousands of adults, found that people with injured ankles tend to have higher rates of disability and arthritis, heart or respiratory issues going forward. The study can't prove cause-and-effect, but it points to the importance of proper rehabilitation after such injuries, the researchers said.

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Aging baby boomers are getting bum knees replaced at a greater rate, and at a younger age, than ever before, a new U.S. study confirms. The data, from the National Hospital Discharge Survey, shows that between 2000 and 2010, more than 5.2 million total knee replacements were performed in the United States. By 2010, the operation had become the leading inpatient surgery performed on adults aged 45 and over.

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