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Patients Favor Lower Back Pain Relief Over Improved Mobility, Finds Study

Lower Back PainLower back pain is a common complaint that affects most people at some point in their lives. Recognized as a major cause of adult disability in the United States, the condition can be triggered by poor posture, heavy/strenuous work, muscle imbalance, sudden falls and injuries and accidents. It can also occur due to medical conditions such as arthritis, sciatica, spinal stenosis and fibromyalgia. Treatment would vary depending on the cause, type and intensity of the pain.

Science Daily recently reported on a new study published in the journal Neurology that examined the question of quality of life for individuals with lumbar spinal stenosis, a common form of lower back pain. The study found that when given a choice between treatments that reduced pain or would help them stand or walk, most patients preferred pain relief.

Lumbar spinal stenosis, a form of lower back pain occurs due to the gradual narrowing of the spinal canal, an effect of the degeneration of both the facet joints and the intervertebral discs. The condition is characterized by bone spurs growing into the spinal canal. The common symptoms include pain, tingling and numbness in the lower back, buttocks and legs.

As part of the study, researchers surveyed about 269 patients with lumbar stenosis with chronic back pain who had serious difficulty in walking and standing. The patients were asked whether they preferred a treatment modality that would provide pain relief or one that would allow them to walk further. The majority, about 79 percent, chose pain reduction over improved mobility – no matter how much the condition weakened their ability to stand and walk.

The study results is an instance of the new standards for pain relief that are being created based on patient feedback. The lead researcher said that the results of this study should encourage the manufacturers of back pain drugs to prioritize pain relief and focus less on mobility.

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