May 08, 2013
New research suggests that some 40% of chronic lower back pain (CLBP) could be caused by bacteria, and that a significant percentage of people with lower back pain following a herniated disc and swelling in the spine could find relief by taking an antibiotic.
Investigators from the Research Department of the Spine Center of Southern Denmark, University of Southern Denmark, Odense, led by Hanne B. Albert, PhD, conclude that antibiotics may be considered as a treatment option for patients with chronic low back pain, but with caution.
The authors suggest that long-term antibiotics should not be prescribed “without due consideration.” Low back pain is so common in the community that there could be hazards if used indiscriminately, they write.
“However, as many patients, as in this trial, are on sick leave at risk of losing their jobs and have a high analgesic intake, we suggest that antibiotics, when applied along the lines of this MAST [Modic antibiotic spine therapy] protocol may be appropriate in this subgroup, i.e., CLBP with Modic type 1 changes. We do not support the proposition that all patients with lumbar pain should have a trial course of antibiotics.”
Their findings, published in 2 papers, 1 a randomized trial of antibiotics for low back pain, are published in the April issue of the European Spine Journal.