"In this manner, blocks were continued until all such possible levels either proved negative or until a positive response was encountered. This practice was recently recommended to assist with diagnostic accuracy and in an attempt to reduce the false negative rate . Thus, these patients underwent procedures directed at their familiar pain, such that if their predominant symptom was ‘upper’ neck pain, the upper cervical facet joints (C2-4) were injected, whilst if their predominant symptom was ‘lower’ neck pain, then the lower cervical facet joints (C4-7) were injected . "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cervical facet block (FB) procedures are often used as a diagnostic precursor to radiofrequency neurotomies (RFN) in the management of chronic whiplash associated disorders (WAD). Some individuals will respond to the FB procedures and others will not respond. Such responders and non-responders provided a sample of convenience to question whether there were differences in their physical and psychological features. This information may inform future predictive studies and ultimately the clinical selection of patients for FB procedures.
This cross-sectional study involved 58 individuals with chronic WAD who responded to cervical FB procedures (WAD_R); 32 who did not respond (WAD_NR) and 30 Healthy Controls (HC)s. Measures included: quantitative sensory tests (pressure; thermal pain thresholds; brachial plexus provocation test); nociceptive flexion reflex (NFR); motor function (cervical range of movement (ROM); activity of the superficial neck flexors during the cranio-cervical flexion test (CCFT). Self-reported measures were gained from the following questionnaires: neuropathic pain (s-LANSS); psychological distress (General Health Questionnaire-28), post-traumatic stress (PDS) and pain catastrophization (PCS). Individuals with chronic whiplash attended the laboratory once the effects of the blocks had abated and symptoms had returned.
Following FB procedures, both WAD groups demonstrated generalized hypersensitivity to all sensory tests, decreased neck ROM and increased superficial muscle activity with the CCFT compared to controls (p < 0.05). There were no significant differences between WAD groups (all p > 0.05). Both WAD groups demonstrated psychological distress (GHQ-28; p < 0.05), moderate post-traumatic stress symptoms and pain catastrophization. The WAD_NR group also demonstrated increased medication intake and elevated PCS scores compared to the WAD_R group (p < 0.05).
Chronic WAD responders and non-responders to FB procedures demonstrate a similar presentation of sensory disturbance, motor dysfunction and psychological distress. Higher levels of pain catastrophization and greater medication intake were the only factors found to differentiate these groups.
"They found the SE to be 0.88, SP to be 0.39 and PLR to be 1.3. Again, using diagnostic block as a Gold Standard may be questionable , leaving open the issue of what should be the Gold Standard for segmental palpation signs. Further work in the area of establishing a true Gold Standard for the identification of zygapophyseal joint pain may be needed before definitive statements regarding the presence or absence of pain from this structure can be made. "
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Spinal pain is a common and often disabling problem. The research on various treatments for spinal pain has, for the most part, suggested that while several interventions have demonstrated mild to moderate short-term benefit, no single treatment has a major impact on either pain or disability. There is great need for more accurate diagnosis in patients with spinal pain. In a previous paper, the theoretical model of a diagnosis-based clinical decision rule was presented. The approach is designed to provide the clinician with a strategy for arriving at a specific working diagnosis from which treatment decisions can be made. It is based on three questions of diagnosis. In the current paper, the literature on the reliability and validity of the assessment procedures that are included in the diagnosis-based clinical decision rule is presented.
The databases of Medline, Cinahl, Embase and MANTIS were searched for studies that evaluated the reliability and validity of clinic-based diagnostic procedures for patients with spinal pain that have relevance for questions 2 (which investigates characteristics of the pain source) and 3 (which investigates perpetuating factors of the pain experience). In addition, the reference list of identified papers and authors' libraries were searched.
A total of 1769 articles were retrieved, of which 138 were deemed relevant. Fifty-one studies related to reliability and 76 related to validity. One study evaluated both reliability and validity.
Regarding some aspects of the DBCDR, there are a number of studies that allow the clinician to have a reasonable degree of confidence in his or her findings. This is particularly true for centralization signs, neurodynamic signs and psychological perpetuating factors. There are other aspects of the DBCDR in which a lesser degree of confidence is warranted, and in which further research is needed.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Chronic, recurrent neck pain is common and is associated with high pain intensity and disability, which is seen in 14% of the adult general population. Controlled studies have supported the existence of cervical facet or zygapophysial joint pain in 36% to 67% of these patients. However, these studies also have shown false-positive results in 27% to 63% of the patients with a single diagnostic block. There is also a paucity of literature investigating therapeutic interventions of cervical facet joint pain.
A systematic review of cervical facet joint interventions.
To evaluate the accuracy of diagnostic facet joint nerve blocks and the effectiveness of cervical facet joint interventions.
Medical databases and journals were searched to locate all relevant literature from 1966 through December 2008 in the English language. A review of the literature of the utility of facet joint interventions in diagnosing and managing facet joint pain was performed according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) criteria for diagnostic studies and observational studies and the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Review Group criteria as utilized for interventional techniques for randomized trials.
The level of evidence was defined as Level I, II, or III based on the quality of evidence developed by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF).
For diagnostic interventions, studies must have been performed utilizing controlled local anesthetic blocks which achieve at minimum 80% relief of pain and the ability to perform previously painful movements. For therapeutic interventions, the primary outcome measure was pain relief (short-term relief up to 6 months and long-term relief greater than 6 months) with secondary outcome measures of improvement in functional status, psychological status, return to work, and reduction in opioid intake.
Based on the utilization of controlled comparative local anesthetic blocks, the evidence for the diagnosis of cervical facet joint pain is Level I or II-1. The indicated evidence for therapeutic cervical medial branch blocks is Level II-1. The indicated evidence for radiofrequency neurotomy in the cervical spine is Level II-1 or II-2, whereas the evidence is lacking for intraarticular injections.
A systematic review of cervical facet joint interventions is hindered by the paucity of published literature and lack of literature for intraarticular cervical facet joint injections.
The evidence for diagnosis of cervical facet joint pain with controlled comparative local anesthetic blocks is Level I or II-1. The indicated evidence for therapeutic facet joint interventions is Level II-1 for medial branch blocks, and Level II-1 or II-2 for radiofrequency neurotomy.
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