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Senior Correspondent

According to an article by Mathew Perrone, three of the largest drug manufacturers will attempt to make a case to be allowed to continue research into a class of experimental drugs that have been linked by the FDA to joint failure and bone deterioration.

This is unusual, in that companies rarely carry on research into drugs that have potential safety issues. However the arthritis, back pain, and chronic pain market is so huge that they feel it worthwhile to attempt to get permission to continue research into these compounds.

These drugs, known as nerve growth factor inhibitors, showed great promise for treating osteoarthritis, back pain and other chronic pain conditions. They are injectable and work by blocking the proteins that control pain sensation.

After initial promise, research was halted by Pfizer at the request of the FDA after reports of osteoarthritis in some patients worsening, to the point of joint failure in some cases.

The drug makers are expected to argue the case that these patients had been taking multiple painkillers at the same time as the experimental treatment, causing these rare side effects.

Watch this space. If you want to read the full article, which is quite interesting, use this link.

Exercise Might Not Always Be Best for Low Back Pain

Back pain blog readers will know that for years we have been told that exercise is beneficial for those suffering with chronic back pain. Now, it seems that medical opinion has done another of its famed U-turns.

In a story by Pauline Anderson on www.medscape.com, she reports that randomized trials have shown no difference in pain, disability, or general health amongst patients with lower back pain and Modic Changes (MCs: oedema or fatty degeneration in the vertebral endplate) who followed an exercise regime, and those who adopted a routine of rest and load reduction.

A study involved 100 adult patients with chronic low back pain. One group, the rest group, were told to avoid hard physical activity and rest by lying down for an hour twice a day (lucky things). They were also allowed to use a flexible lumbar belt as required for up to four hours a day.

The other (exercise) group took part in supervised one-hour exercises once a week for the 10 weeks of the trial. This included exercises for stabilizing muscles in the low back and abdomen, exercises for postural stability, and light physical fitness training. They were also encouraged to continue with these exercises at home three times a week, and maintain a normal level of activity.

Without going into all the results in this post, (they are in the full report which you can find here) at the end of the study no significant difference in general health scores was found between either group, also no serious problems or adverse effects.

So there you have it. You can ditch all your exercise equipment and loll about in front of the television all day. I’m not convinced. Someone will do another study soon that proves the opposite!

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