Injection Therapy for Subacute and Chronic Low Back Pain

Department of Epidemiology and Caphri Research School, Maastricht University, P Debyeplein 1, Maastricht, Netherlands.
Spine (Impact Factor: 2.3). 02/2009; 34(1):49-59. DOI: 10.1097/BRS.0b013e3181909558
Source: PubMed


A systematic review of randomized controlled trials (RCTs).
To determine if injection therapy is more effective than placebo or other treatments for patients with subacute or chronic low back pain.
The effectiveness of injection therapy for low back pain is still debatable. Heterogeneity of target tissue, pharmacological agent, and dosage, generally found in RCTs, point to the need for clinically valid comparisons in a literature synthesis.
We updated the search of the earlier systematic review and searched the Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, MEDLINE, and EMBASE databases up to March 2007 for relevant trials reported in English, French, German, Dutch, and Nordic languages. We also screened references from trials identified. RCTs on the effects of injection therapy involving epidural, facet, or local sites for subacute or chronic low back pain were included. Studies that compared the effects of intradiscal injections, prolotherapy, or ozone therapy with other treatments were excluded unless injection therapy with another pharmaceutical agent (no placebo treatment) was part of one of the treatment arms. Studies about injections in sacroiliac joints and studies evaluating the effects of epidural steroids for radicular pain were also excluded.
Eighteen trials (1179 participants) were included in this review. The injection sites varied from epidural sites and facet joints (i.e. intra-articular injections, peri-articular injections and nerve blocks) to local sites (i.e. tender-and trigger points). The drugs that were studied consisted of corticosteroids, local anesthetics, and a variety of other drugs. The methodologic quality of the trials was limited with 10 of 18 trials rated as having a high methodologic quality. Statistical pooling was not possible because of clinical heterogeneity in the trials. Overall, the results indicated that there is no strong evidence for or against the use of any type of injection therapy.
There is insufficient evidence to support the use of injection therapy in subacute and chronic low-back pain. However, it cannot be ruled out that specific subgroups of patients may respond to a specific type of injection therapy.

Download full-text


Available from: J Bart Staal
  • Source
    • "Local treatments have been suggested, ranging from intradiscal cortisone injections to arthrodesis [15-20]. The results are, however, controversial [21,22]. These invasive procedures expose the patient to a risk of infection for intradiscal injections and to operating complications for arthrodesis [19]. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Erosive degenerative disc disease, also known as Modic type 1 changes, is usually characterized by low back pain with an inflammatory pain pattern, as seen in spondyloarthropathies. Intravenous pamidronate has proven to be effective in patients with ankylosing spondylitis who are refractory to nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs, and in painful bone diseases in general, such as Paget's disease, fibrous dysplasia or vertebral fractures. We therefore hypothesize that pamidronate would be effective in treating low back pain associated with Modic type 1 changes. This study, called PEPTIDE (short for the French title "Etude Prospective sur l'Efficacite et la tolerance du PamidronaTe dans les dIscopathies Degeneratives Erosives"), will be a double-blind, randomized, placebo-controlled, parallel group, phase two clinical trial. A total of 48 patients will be recruited. These patients will be randomly assigned to one of the two groups, with 24 patients in each group: one group will be given pamidronate and the other a placebo. Pamidronate will be administered at a dose of 90 mg per day for two days consecutively, and every patient, irrespective of treatment group, will be given paracetamol to maintain blinding by preventing drug-induced fever. The primary outcome measure is a between-group difference of 30 points on a 100 mm Visual Analogue Scale (VAS) at three months. Secondary outcome measures are improvement in functional status and the drug's safety. Primary and secondary outcome measures will be assessed at each visit (inclusion, at six weeks, three months, and six months). If the primary goal is not attained, the patient will be offered a rigid or semi-rigid back brace, irrespective of the treatment group. To date, only local treatments, for example intradiscal corticosteroid therapy, lumbar arthrodesis or back braces have been studied in randomized, controlled trials, with controversial results. This trial is currently ongoing and, if conclusive, should provide physicians with an acceptable alternative to those treatments. The results should be publicly available in spring 2015.Trial registration: number, NCT01799616.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2014 · Trials
  • Source
    • "Chronic lower back pain has been managed by epidural steroid injection (ESI) for decades yet the use of the technique is contentious. On the one hand, recent reviews of clinical evidence published under the auspices of authoritative bodies such as the American Pain Society [1], the Cochrane Collaboration [2] and the UK’s Royal College of General Practitioners [3] have concluded that the effectiveness of ESIs remains unproven. Associated clinical guidelines, such as those of the UK’s National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence [4], explicitly discourage the use of ESIs for non-specific low back pain. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: The efficacy of epidural steroid injections in the management of chronic low back pain is disputed, yet the technique remains popular amongst physicians and patients alike. This study assesses the cost effectiveness of injections administered in a routine outpatient setting in England. Patients attending the Nottingham University Hospitals' Pain Clinic received two injections of methylprednisolone plus levobupivacaine at different dosages, separated by at least 12 weeks. Prior to each injection, and every week thereafter for 12 weeks, participants completed the EQ-5D health-related quality of life instrument. For each patient for each injection, total health state utility gain relative to baseline was calculated. The cost of the procedure was modelled from observed clinical practice. Cost effectiveness was calculated as procedure cost relative to utility gain. 39 patients provided records. Over a 13-week period commencing with injection, mean quality adjusted life year (QALY) gains per patient for the two dosages were 0.028 (SD 0.063) and 0.021 (SD 0.057). The difference in QALYs gained by dosage was insignificant (paired t-test, CIs -0.019 - 0.033). Based on modelled resource use and data from other studies, the mean cost of an injection was estimated at £219 (SD 83). The cost utility ratio of the two injections amounted to £8,975 per QALY gained (CIs 5,480 - 22,915). However, at costs equivalent to the tariff price typically paid to providers by health care purchasers, the ratio increased to £27,459 (CIs 16,779 - 70,091). When provided in an outpatient setting, epidural steroid injections are a short term, but nevertheless cost effective, means of managing chronic low back pain. However, designation of the procedure as a day case requires the National Health Service to reimburse providers at a price which pushes the procedure to the margin of cost effectiveness. ISRCTN 43299460.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · BMC Anesthesiology
  • Source
    • "Particularly, there are no studies evaluating the effectiveness of fluoroscopically directed caudal epidural injections under optimal conditions of contemporary interventional pain management practice in a large number of patients. Multiple studies have been criticized, most importantly for their design and their inability to confirm the location of the injectate by not using fluoroscopy 11,58,60,62,63,72-74. Multiple systematic reviews have been criticized for their methodology by evaluating studies inappropriately, thus, reaching inaccurate conclusions based on inappropriate evidence synthesis 11-13,44-64,71,75. "
    [Show abstract] [Hide abstract]
    ABSTRACT: Study Design: A randomized, active control, double-blind trial. Objective: To evaluate the effectiveness of fluoroscopically directed caudal epidural injections with or without steroids in managing chronic low back and lower extremity pain secondary to post lumbar surgery syndrome. Summary of Background Data: There is a paucity of evidence concerning caudal epidural injections for managing chronic persistent low back pain with or without lower extremity pain caused by post lumbar surgery syndrome. Methods: This active control randomized study included 140 patients with 70 patients in each group. Group I received 0.5% lidocaine, 10 mL; Group II received 9 mL of 0.5% lidocaine mixed with 1 mL of 6 mg of nonparticulate betamethasone. The multiple outcome measures included the numeric rating scale, the Oswestry Disability Index 2.0, employment status, and opioid intake with assessments at 3, 6, 12, 18, and 24 months posttreatment. Primary outcome was defined as at least 50% improvement in pain and Oswestry Disability Index scores. Patients with a positive response to the first 2 procedures with at least 3 weeks of relief were considered to be successful. All others were considered as failures. Results: Overall in Group I, 53% and 47% of the patients and in Group II, 59% and 58% of the patients, showed significant improvement with reduction in pain scores and disability index at 12 months and 24 months. In contrast, in the successful groups, significant pain relief and improvement in function were observed in 70% and 62% of Group I at one and 2 years; in 75% and 69% of Group II at one and 2 years. The results in the successful group showed that at the end of the first year patients experienced approximately 38 weeks of relief and at the end of 2 years Group I had 62 weeks and Group II had 68 weeks of relief. Overall total relief for 2 years was 48 weeks in Group I and 54 weeks in Group II. The average procedures in the successful groups were at 4 in one year and 6 at the end of 2 years. Conclusion: Caudal epidural injections of local anesthetic with or without steroid might be effective in patients with chronic persistent low back and/or lower extremity pain in patients with post lumbar surgery syndrome.
    Full-text · Article · Sep 2012 · International journal of medical sciences
Show more