In research news:

A much simpler procedure than spinal fusion could successfully treat low back pain in many patients who receive fusion surgery, according to a pair of clinical trials published online simultaneously in The New England Journal of Medicine. Decompression was enough to relieve spinal stenosis, and with fewer complications, in patients without malalignment of the spine, according to a report on Pain Medicine News. In a concurrent editorial, two physicians not associated with the studies explained that “performing fusion in addition to bony decompression surgery is generally accepted as the best practice,” but there is a dearth of evidence for the combination in most cases.

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