Probiotics for chronic low back pain with type 1 Modic changes: a randomized double-blind, placebo-controlled trial with 1-year follow-up using Lactobacillus Rhamnosis GG

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PURPOSE: To investigate whether treatment by lactic acid bacteria for 100 days is associated with change of disability and pain in chronic low back pain (CLBP) patients with type 1 or mixed Modic changes (MC) during 1-year follow-up.

METHODS: Eighty-nine patients with CLBP and type 1 MC or mixed MC were randomized to receive either one capsule Lactobacillus Rhamnosis GG (6 billion colony-forming unit per capsule) twice daily or placebo capsules for 100 days.

RESULTS: Missing values at 1 year were 4% and 3% in the disability and pain variables, respectively. The predefined outcomes disability and back + leg pain only changed little during follow-up with no statistically significant differences between groups. At 1 year, back pain had on average decreased by 1.1 more on a 0-10 scale (95% confidence interval 0.20-1.97) in the group treated by lactic acid bacteria than in the control group. There were no differences regarding other predefined outcomes, i.e. global effect or percentage with minimal disability at 1 year. Nine per cent of the patients reported gastrointestinal side effects without difference between groups.

CONCLUSIONS: No differences were found regarding the predefined outcomes. Overall, there was little improvement during the 1-year observation period. A small, though hardly clinically relevant, effect on back pain was seen after treatment by Lactobacillus Rhamnosis GG, and the treatment was without side effects in comparison with the control group.

Original languageEnglish
JournalEuropean Spine Journal
Pages (from-to)2478-2486
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019

    Research areas

  • Chronic low back pain, Inflammation, Lactic acid bacteria, Modic changes, Probiotics, Vertebral end-plate oedema

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