Sunday, October 11, 2015

Your back pain may be affecting you in ways you’d never even have thought!

It is estimated that approximately 31 million Americans are experiencing low back pain at any given moment1.  Needless to say, that’s a lot of people.  Medical treatments for back pain can range from rest to surgery, but almost always involve some type of pain medication.  A study that reviewed medical records of over 11,000 individuals with back pain, found that the chronic use of pain medications, which is very common in individuals who suffer from chronic back pain, may be associated with erectile dysfunction (ED)2.  Crazy to think about right?  Another study, which compared the presence of erectile dysfunction in patients with low back pain to those without, made some interesting discoveries as well.  Researchers found that as many as 60 percent of patients with low back pain suffered from ED, while only 25 percent of patients without were affected3. 
Although there are varying causes of ED, many are associated with a compromise in blood flow4.  Citrulline and arginine are amino acids that help to relax blood vessels and increase blood flow4.  Although these amino acids have other important functions as well, it is the role that they play in circulatory health that has suggested them as a treatment of ED.  Several studies have been conducted on supplementation of these two compounds that have shown significant improvement in ED symptoms4.  Since there is also a link between low back pain and pain medications and ED, it is also important to seek out other treatment options for you low back pain.  Several studies have found that chiropractic treatment is often the most effective treatment for low back pain, and it does not involve the use of pain medications5.  Erectile dysfunction is a difficult topic to discuss and many people who suffer from it often never seek treatment because of embarrassment or uneasiness about discussing the topic.  Even so, it is important to talk to your doctor before attempting to treat the condition yourself, including taking any supplements or changing your diet.  Ask your doctor what treatment options are right for you. 

1.   Jensen M, Brant-Zawadzki M, Obuchowski N, et al. Magnetic Resonance Imaging of the Lumbar Spine in People Without Back Pain. N Engl J Med 1994; 331: 69-116.

2.  Deyo, R., Smith, D., Johnson, E., et. Al. Prescription opioids for back pain and use of medications for erectile dysfunction.  Spine.  2013; 38 (11) 909-15.    

3. Nikoobakht, M.,  Fraidouni, N., Yaghoubidoust, M., Burri, A., Pakpour, A.  Sexual function and associated factors in Iranian patients with chronic low back pain.  Spinal Cord.  2013.

4.  Schuler, C., Appleton, J.  Arginine and citrulline to the rescue:  You have options in addressing problems with erectile dysfunction and blood flow.  Chiropractic Economics.  2014; 21-24.   

5.  Schneider M. et. Al.  Comparison of Spinal Manipulation Methods and Usual Medical Care for Acute and Subacute Low Back Pain.  Spine. 2015.  Vol. 40. No. 4 pp 209-217. 

6. Fleming, Alesha.  Natural Health and Wellness Chiropractic., Daytona Beach, FL, 2015.

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