Back-terial Cure!


back pain

The news that broke today that over 40% of all chronic back pain could be due to a specific bacterium, Proprionibacterium Acnes, the bacterium that causes acne, is a revelational step in an industry that has for many years struggled with a true understanding of what could be the cause of intractable back pain.

As osteopaths we pride ourselves on our crisp and accurate biomechanical diagnostic skills, which is effective in treating many types of back pain, but it has also been clear, as it has been for our sister profession Physiotherapy, that there are many people who suffer long term back pain, for whom improving the mechanics and strengthening their core muscles makes no difference whatsoever. This study could pave the way for helping those who we in the manual therapy professions find so frustrating to treat, and it could save the health service an absolute shed load of money.

There are two papers on the subject, both of which were published in the European Spine Journal, and are linked here.  In the first study (press here for link), Hanne B. Albert PT., MPH., Ph.D., from The Back Research Centre, University of Southern Denmark, and team demonstrated how bacteria invade the injury sites of slipped discs and cause painful inflammation, and harm surrounding vertebrae.

In the second study (press here for link), Hanne B. Albert PT., MPH., Ph.D. tried out an antibiotic combination treatment based on their discovery. They recruited 162 volunteers, all of them chronic back pain sufferers (back pain that has lasted for more than 6 months). All of the participants had had a slipped disk and had signs of bone swelling.

Links to the newspaper articles are below.

The Express Newspaper May 8th 2013

The Guardian 7th May 2013

The Telegraph 8th May 2013