People suffering from back pain due to degenerative disc disease may soon be treated with a gel applied directly to their discs. To avoid back pain as much as possible, it is important to pay attention to posture in daily life, especially during physical activity.
Four out of five people will eventually suffer from low back pain sometimes during their lifetime. Low back pain varies in severity depending on the patient and the time of the day. In most cases, health professionals recommend that patients suffering from this condition, and people with back problems in general, exercise to prevent such pain.
Even if the pain is already present, one should not remain inactive. If possible, walking and stretching exercises are recommended. However, if the pain is too severe, especially for people with chronic problems, doctors usually prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs or painkillers to relieve the pain.
However, doctors may soon be able to offer their patients a new solution: a gel! U.S. researchers have developed a product called “Hydrafil,” which is injected directly into the discs. The spinal discs are located between the vertebrae of the spine and act as shock absorbers. Early clinical studies have shown that this gel can significantly reduce back pain. These results were presented at the 2022 Congress of the Society of Interventional Radiology.
To test the effectiveness of Hydrafil, scientists administered it to twenty patients between the ages of 22 and 69. All were suffering from low back pain related to degenerative disc disease. This is a progressive deterioration of discs that causes severe pain, especially in the lower back. Before receiving the Hydrafil injection, participants rated their pain with a score of four or higher on a scale of one to ten, with an average score of 7.1. In the end, all felt that the usual treatments provided only mild relief.
The patients slept during the injection while the researchers heated the gel and then applied it to the affected discs with a large needle. The result: all the cracks and tears were filled. “We don’t have a good treatment for degenerative disc disease, other than current treatments,” Douglas P. Beall, one of the lead researchers, said in a statement. Surgery is statistically no more effective than standard treatments and has the potential to make things worse. while the currently available hydrogel is injected through an incision, this new gel requires no incision at all and enlarges the entire disc, restoring its structural integrity.
Six months after treatment with Hydrafil, all patients reported a significant reduction in pain. On a scale of 1 to 10, pain scores decreased from an average of 7.1 to 2. Another improvement was the reduction in discomfort caused by pain in daily life, resulting in improved quality of life. If these results are confirmed by further research, this procedure could be a very promising treatment for chronic low back pain for those who cannot find relief with existing treatments.” The gel is easy to administer and does not require open surgery,” Douglas P. Beall concludes.