One of mainstream medicine’s most prevalent (and lucrative) back treatments has been revealed as a fraud…
More than 44 million Americans suffer from low bone mass or osteoporosis. And one of the biggest threats to their health is a spinal fracture. Their vertebrae become so weak that their back can no longer support their weight.
Some 750,000 Americans suffer from spinal fractures every year.
Mainstream medicine has one standard treatment for this. It’s called vertebral augmentation.
During the procedure, doctors inject bone cement into broken vertebrae. This is supposed to strengthen the back and relieve the excruciating pain that comes from spinal fractures.
But a task force from the American Society for Bone and Mineral Research recently warned the public to avoid vertebral augmentation. The group found that it relieves pain no better than a placebo.
The pain tends to diminish or go away entirely after six weeks, the task force said.
The procedure is done one of two ways. In one version, called vertebroplasty, bone cement is injected directly into the cracked vertebra.
The other is called kyphoplasty. In this newer version, doctors insert a balloon into the fractured bone and inflate it. They the balloon moves the bone into the proper position. Then bone cement is injected to hold it in place.
Both methods are strongly promoted by the medical supply companies that make bone cement…and also by the National Osteoporosis Foundation.
Back specialists love vertebral augmentation procedures for two reasons… It’s extremely profitable. And it’s fast.
The task force looked at previously published studies on vertebral augmentation. They analyzed data from five major trials. In every case, patients who received fake treatments reported as much pain relief as the bone-cement patients. And any pain relief the bone-cement subjects received didn’t last.
Dr. Peter Ebeling led the task force. “If one of these procedures is going to be offered, the patient should be informed that there is minimal chance it will help,” he said.
Just Say No to This Mainstream Back Treatment
If you’ve had a fractured vertebra, don’t let a doctor talk you into vertebral augmentation. Instead, wait. In most cases, the pain subsides after four to six weeks, the task force found.
In the meantime, a back brace can reduce discomfort and keep you functional. Many patients also are helped by physical therapy, over-the-counter pain relievers, cold therapy, and rest.
All of these options are more effective, safer, and a fraction of the cost of vertebral augmentation.