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Abstract: Injections and Surgical Therapy in Chronic Pain

  [ 31 votes ]   [ Discuss This Article ] • February 11, 2002

Bernstein, RM.

Family Medicine Centre, Elizabeth Bruyere Health Centre, Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

OBJECTIVE: The purpose of this review was to determine how effective surgery and injection therapy are in the management of chronic pain.

METHODOLOGY: A standardized literature search identified seven systematic reviews of the literature and six randomized controlled trials to provide evidence about surgery and injection therapy for chronic pain.

RESULTS: Some study subjects had highly specific diagnoses, whereas other study subject groups had nonspecific pain, including multiple conditions. The timing of treatment interventions was generally unclear, and few studies analyzed subgroups. Overall, there was a lack of methodologically sound studies of surgery and injection therapies.

CONCLUSIONS: Standard discectomy compared with conservative treatment for proven disc herniation (< or = 1 year) and local triamcinolone injection for lateral epicondylitis (< or = 12 weeks) are both effective for pain relief (level 2).

There was limited evidence of effectiveness (level 3) of intraoperative steroid at discectomy, epidural steroid injection for sciatica with low back pain, caudal steroid injection for low back pain, local glycosaminoglycan polyphosphate injection for lateral epicondylitis, intraarticular steroid injection for shoulder arthritis, subacromial steroid injections for rotator cuff tendinitis, nonspecific injections for painful shoulder, systemic growth hormone for fibromyalgia, and intravenous adenosine for fibromyalgia.

There was limited evidence (level 3) that there is no additional benefit of adding steroid to local anesthetic in caudal epidural injections. There is limited evidence (level 3) that intravenous adenosine is ineffective for fibromyalgia. The remaining evidence was inadequate (level 4a) or contradictory (level 4b).

PMID: 11783838 [PubMed - in process]

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