[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.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Comprehensive, evidence-based guidelines for interventional techniques in the management of chronic spinal pain are described here to provide recommendations for clinicians.
To develop evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for interventional techniques in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic spinal pain.
Systematic assessment of the literature.
Strength of evidence was assessed by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) criteria utilizing 5 levels of evidence ranging from Level I to III with 3 subcategories in Level II.
Short-term pain relief was defined as relief lasting at least 6 months and long-term relief was defined as longer than 6 months, except for intradiscal therapies, mechanical disc decompression, spinal cord stimulation and intrathecal infusion systems, wherein up to one year relief was considered as short-term.
The indicated evidence for accuracy of diagnostic facet joint nerve blocks is Level I or II-1 in the diagnosis of lumbar, thoracic, and cervical facet joint pain. The evidence for lumbar and cervical provocation discography and sacroiliac joint injections is Level II-2, whereas it is Level II-3 for thoracic provocation discography. The indicated evidence for therapeutic interventions is Level I for caudal epidural steroid injections in managing disc herniation or radiculitis, and discogenic pain without disc herniation or radiculitis. The evidence is Level I or II-1 for percutaneous adhesiolysis in management of pain secondary to post-lumbar surgery syndrome. The evidence is Level II-1 or II-2 for therapeutic cervical, thoracic, and lumbar facet joint nerve blocks; for caudal epidural injections in managing pain of post-lumbar surgery syndrome, and lumbar spinal stenosis, for cervical interlaminar epidural injections in managing cervical pain (Level II-1); for lumbar transforaminal epidural injections; and spinal cord stimulation for post-lumbar surgery syndrome. The indicated evidence for intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET), mechanical disc decompression with automated percutaneous lumbar discectomy (APLD), and percutaneous lumbar laser discectomy (PLDD) is Level II-2.
The limitations of these guidelines include a continued paucity of the literature, lack of updates, and conflicts in preparation of systematic reviews and guidelines by various organizations.
The indicated evidence for diagnostic and therapeutic interventions is variable from Level I to III. These guidelines include the evaluation of evidence for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in managing chronic spinal pain and recommendations for managing spinal pain. However, these guidelines do not constitute inflexible treatment recommendations. Further, these guidelines also do not represent "standard of care."