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Study shows: Radon therapy can reduce back pain
It sounds like a blessing for people with chronic back pain: after just one cure, pain relief takes months. Now a recently published study shows that treatment series with the noble gas radon in the form of baths, inhalations or tunnel entrances in patients with chronic back pain, arthrosis, rheumatoid arthritis or ankylosing spondylitis can cause this positive effect.
The international randomized multicenter radon study (IMuRa study)  on behalf of EURADON, the association Europäische Radonheilbäder e.V., shows the positive effectiveness of radon treatments on the pain situation in chronic pain. In addition, the study confirms that the alternative form of therapy significantly reduces pain medication consumption for a period of nine months. Thus, the patient's organism can be relieved with regard to undesirable drug side effects. This is good news especially for patients who rely on pain medication due to incurable back or rheumatic diseases.
Radon has been used in therapy in Europe since the beginning of the 20th century. Radon naturally emerges from the earth's crust and is only found in the right dosage for medical use in certain geographical areas. There are spas for radon therapy in Germany, Italy, Austria, Poland and the Czech Republic, for example. When bathing, drinking spring water or staying in former mine tunnels, radon enters the body through the lungs and skin. "In principle, it is an extremely low-dose radiation therapy that stimulates the body's own repair mechanisms and inhibits pain messengers," explains Dr. Ina Furch, resident orthopedic surgeon and bath doctor in Bad Schlema, who was responsible for the overall management of the study. However, the exact mechanisms of action of radon therapy have not yet been fully researched.
"Although studies on the lasting, pain-relieving effects of radon therapy have been available for many years, the results from today's scientific point of view were not sufficient," says study author Prof. Dr. Thomas Franke from Bad Elster. "In contrast, the IMuRa study fulfills class 1b of the concepts of evidence-based medicine." The initiators of the IMuRa study hope that, based on the positive results, radon therapies will in future also be reimbursed within the framework of outpatient care from statutory health insurance companies. In the German health care system, it is currently only accepted for inpatient rehabilitation measures. (pm)