The effect of spinal steroid injections for degenerative disc disease.
ABSTRACT No conclusive evidence exists to determine that spinal steroid injections give lasting improvement in patients with predominantly axial low back pain resulting from lumbar degenerative disc disease (DDD).
The objectives of the study were to determine the effect of epidural steroid injections (ESIs) and intradiscal steroid injections (ISIs) in patients who exhibit DDD symptoms for more than 1 year and to determine whether patients with inflammatory end-plate changes are a unique subgroup of DDD patients in terms of treatment response.
Pain and function in patients with DDD were prospectively assessed by an outcomes questionnaire before and after various spinal injections. Further correlation was made with end-plate inflammatory (Modic Type 1) changes identified on magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
ESI was performed in 232 patients who were referred for treatment of DDD, and discography with or without intradiscal steroid was performed in 171 patients who were possible spinal arthrodesis candidates.
Pain and function were determined by a self-administered outcomes questionnaire that consisted of a visual analog pain scale, pain drawing, Oswestry Disability Index, use of pain medication and opinion of treatment success.
ESI was performed in 93 patients with DDD and inflammatory end-plate changes and in 139 patients without inflammatory end-plate changes. Patients with inflammatory end-plate changes (n=78) or without inflammatory end-plate changes (n=93), all of whom were considered fusion candidates, underwent discography with or without intradiscal steroid in a randomized fashion. Pain and function were prospectively determined by a self-administered outcomes survey (VAS pain, Oswestry Disability index [ODI], pain diagram [PD] and opinion of success) before and after the patients' injection for a 2-year follow-up period. MRI and discography results were correlated with patient outcomes scores.
ESI was effective in improving pain and function, as assessed by outcomes scores at short-term follow-up. However, at 2 years, less than one-third had not had additional invasive treatment. Patients with inflammatory end-plate changes had greater improvement in ODI and PD scores in the first 6 months than did those patients without the end-plate changes. Intradiscal steroid injections into discs with concordant pain at the time of discography led to significant improvement in patients with inflammatory end-plate changes in all outcomes scales, but only minimal temporary improvement in patients without the end-plate changes. Disc pressure manometry at the time of discography found that discs with adjacent inflammatory end-plate changes reproduced symptoms at pressures significantly lower than those in other types of discs.
Spinal steroid injections, both ESI and ISI, are beneficial for a small number of patients with advanced DDD and chronic low back pain. For those patients in whom a beneficial effect is found, spinal steroid injection is a low-risk and rapid treatment option. Spinal steroid injections are more effective in patients with MRI findings of discogenic inflammation, specifically adjacent inflammatory end-plate changes.
Article: Nonsurgical interventional therapies for low back pain: a review of the evidence for an American Pain Society clinical practice guideline.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Systematic review. To systematically assess benefits and harms of nonsurgical interventional therapies for low back and radicular pain. Although use of certain interventional therapies is common or increasing, there is also uncertainty or controversy about their efficacy. Electronic database searches on Ovid MEDLINE and the Cochrane databases were conducted through July 2008 to identify randomized controlled trials and systematic reviews of local injections, botulinum toxin injection, prolotherapy, epidural steroid injection, facet joint injection, therapeutic medial branch block, sacroiliac joint injection, intradiscal steroid injection, chemonucleolysis, radiofrequency denervation, intradiscal electrothermal therapy, percutaneous intradiscal radiofrequency thermocoagulation, Coblation nucleoplasty, and spinal cord stimulation. All relevant studies were methodologically assessed by 2 independent reviewers using criteria developed by the Cochrane Back Review Group (for trials) and by Oxman (for systematic reviews). A qualitative synthesis of results was performed using methods adapted from the US Preventive Services Task Force. For sciatica or prolapsed lumbar disc with radiculopathy, we found good evidence that chemonucleolysis is moderately superior to placebo injection but inferior to surgery, and fair evidence that epidural steroid injection is moderately effective for short-term (but not long-term) symptom relief. We found fair evidence that spinal cord stimulation is moderately effective for failed back surgery syndrome with persistent radiculopathy, though device-related complications are common. We found good or fair evidence that prolotherapy, facet joint injection, intradiscal steroid injection, and percutaneous intradiscal radiofrequency thermocoagulation are not effective. Insufficient evidence exists to reliably evaluate other interventional therapies. Few nonsurgical interventional therapies for low back pain have been shown to be effective in randomized, placebo-controlled trials.Spine 05/2009; 34(10):1078-93. · 2.08 Impact Factor
Article: The Professional Athlete Spine Initiative: outcomes after lumbar disc herniation in 342 elite professional athletes.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Although clinical outcomes after lumbar disc herniations (LDHs) in the general population have been well studied, those in elite professional athletes have not. Because these athletes have different measures of success, studies on long-term outcomes in this patient population are necessary. This study seeks to define the outcomes after an LDH in a large cohort of professional athletes of American football, baseball, hockey, and basketball. Retrospective cohort study. A total of 342 professional athletes from four major North American sports from 1972 to 2008 diagnosed with an LDH were identified via a previously published protocol. Two hundred twenty-six players underwent lumbar discectomy, and 116 athletes were treated nonoperatively. Only those players who had at least 2 years of follow-up were included. Functional outcome measures as defined by successful return-to-play (RTP), career games, and years played for each player cohort were recorded both before and after treatment. Conversion factors based on games/regular season and expected career length (based on individual sport) were used to standardize the outcomes across each sport. Using Statistical Analysis Software v. 9.1, outcome measures were compared in each cohort both before and after treatment using linear and mixed regression analyses and Cox proportional hazards models. A Kaplan-Meier survivorship curve was calculated for career length after injury. Statistical significance was defined as p<.05. After the diagnosis of an LDH, professional athletes successfully returned to sport 82% of the time, with an average career length of 3.4 years. Of the 226 patients who underwent surgical treatment, 184 successfully returned to play (81%), on average, for 3.3 years after surgery. Survivorship analysis demonstrated that 62.3% of players were expected to remain active 2 years after diagnosis. There were no statistically significant differences in outcome in the surgical and nonoperative cohorts. Age at diagnosis was a negative predictor of career length after injury, whereas games played before injury had a positive effect on outcome after injury. Major League Baseball (MLB) players demonstrated a significantly higher RTP rate than those of other sports, and conversely, National Football League (NFL) athletes had a lower RTP rate than players of other sports (p<.05). However, the greatest positive treatment effect from surgery for LDH was seen in NFL players, whereas for MLB athletes, a lumbar discectomy led to a shorter career compared with the nonoperative cohort (p<.05). Professional athletes diagnosed with an LDH successfully returned to play at a high rate with productive careers after injury. Whereas older athletes have a shorter career length after diagnosis of LDH, experienced players (high number of games played) demonstrate more games played after treatment than inexperienced athletes. Notably, surgical treatment in baseball players led to significantly shorter careers, whereas for NFL athletes, posttreatment careers were longer than those of the corresponding nonoperative cohort. The explanation for this is likely multifactorial, including the age at diagnosis, respective contractual obligations, and different physical demands imposed by each individual professional sport.The spine journal: official journal of the North American Spine Society 01/2011; 11(3):180-6. · 2.90 Impact Factor
Article: Is the presence of modic changes associated with the outcomes of different treatments? A systematic critical review.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Modic changes (MCs) have been identified as a diagnostic subgroup associated with low back pain (LBP). The aetiology of MCs is still unknown and there is no effective treatment available. If MCs constitute a specific subgroup of LBP, it seems reasonable to expect different effects from different treatments. The objective of this systematic critical literature review was therefore to investigate if there is evidence in the literature that the presence of MCs at baseline is associated with a favourable outcome depending on the treatment provided for LBP. The databases MEDLINE and EMBASE were searched for relevant articles from 1984 to December 2010. A checklist including items related to the research questions and quality of the articles was used for data extraction and quality assessment. Of the 1650 articles found, five (six studies) were included in this review but because the studies were so heterogeneous, the results have been reported separately for each study. The treatments studied were: lumbar epidural steroid injections (n = 1), lumbar intradiscal steroid injections (n = 2), lumbar disc replacement (n = 1), fusion surgery (n = 1) and exercise therapy (n = 1). One of the two studies investigating treatment with intradiscal steroid injections and the study investigating fusion surgery reported that MCs were positively associated with the outcomes of pain and disability. The other study on lumbar intradiscal steroid injections and the study on lumbar epidural steroid injections reported mixed results, whereas the study on lumbar disc replacement and the study on exercise therapy reported that MCs were not associated with the outcomes of pain and disability. The available studies on the topic were too few and too heterogeneous to reach a definitive conclusion and it is therefore still unclear if MCs may be of clinical importance when guiding or prescribing the 'right' treatment for a patient with LBP.BMC Musculoskeletal Disorders 08/2011; 12:183. · 1.58 Impact Factor