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Innovative Physical Therapy Relieves Back Pain

Researchers Say Technique Works When All Else Fails

5 Months of Treatment continued...

"The patients had tried almost all combinations of treatments you could think of, including regular physical therapy, bed rest, anti-inflammatory medications, acupuncture, and epidural injections," Estol says. "Quite a few had already had surgery and others were scheduled for surgery when we treated them."

Importantly, three-fourths couldn't walk more than 10 blocks without stopping, he says. Thirty-five percent had pain so severe they couldn't walk more than five blocks and had to stop working or playing sports.

The treatment included two GPR sessions during the first week, then one session a week for an average of five months. Participants also practiced breathing techniques and were given a home exercise program.

The findings showed that 92 of the 102 people reported pain relief and were able to return fully to their daily activities.

For 85% of the patients, the improvement was noted after just three weeks of treatment. And after an average of almost two years, the pain has not recurred, Estol says.

Cautious Optimism

Other researchers at the meeting were cautiously optimistic.

Albert Lo, MD, PhD, assistant professor of neurology at Yale University in New Haven, Conn., and a moderator of the session at which the findings were presented, says a success rate of 90% in patients with chronic back pain "is very unusual and begs for further investigation."

"If the findings are reproducible in [future studies], GPR could be a very exciting adjunctive therapy for patients with chronic neck and back pain," he tells WebMD.

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