Stapling the Lid on Low Back PainBack pain of unknown cause is called nonspecific back pain. It is very common. In fact, seven out of every 10 adults will have nonspecific back pain at some point in their lives. Low back pain in the United States causes lost wages and medical expenses that add up to millions of dollars every year. In cases of nonspecific back pain, there is no infection or fracture. No trauma has occurred and there is no disease present. Many people probably have pain from problems with nerve tissue, but this has not been proven.
A new treatment for nonspecific back pain has been developed in Spain. This is called neuroreflexotherapy. In this treatment, the doctor puts staples in the back and ear at places called trigger points. The staples are left for 90 days or more. They work by blocking the release of substances that cause back pain. These staples also release natural pain relievers.
Twenty-one doctors in seven centers in Spain have been using neuroreflexotherapy. They have compared the results with people who have not received this kind of treatment. The patients receiving neuroreflexotherapy had better results with less pain and better quality of life. The treatment time was shorter with lower costs.
The European approach to nonspecific back pain may offer a new method of treatment. Doctors are trying to use the nervous system to affect the pain. Early results are positive and have been repeated in several studies.
Francisco M. Kovacs, MD, PhD, et al. Effectiveness and Cost-effectiveness Analysis of Neuroreflexotherapy for Subacute and Chronic Low Back Pain in Routine General Practice. In Spine. June 1, 2002. Vol. 27. No. 11. Pp. 1149-1159.
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