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      The Technique of Intradiscal Injection: A Narrative Review

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          Low back pain (LBP) is one of the most common spine diseases and represents the most frequent cause of absence from work in developed countries. Approximately 40% of chronic LBP is related to discogenic origin. The goal of the study is producing a review of literature to describe analytically the techniques of intradiscal injections.


          PubMed database was searched for clinical studies with the different key terms: “intradiscal”, “injection”, “steroid” “procedures”, “techniques”, “CT”, “MRI”, “fluoroscopy”, “fluoroscopic”, “guidance”, “ozone”, “ultrasound”, “images”. Only studies written in English, French, or Italian in which the intradiscal injection represents the main procedure for the low back discopathy treatment on humans were considered. We excluded the articles that do not mention this procedure; those which indicated that the intradiscal injection had happened accidentally during other treatments; those reporting the patient’s pain was determined by other causes than the discopathy (facet joint syndrome, tumor, spondylodiscitis).


          Thirty-one articles dated from 1969 to 2018 met the criteria. The examined population was 6843 subjects, 52.3% male and 47.7% female, with a mean age of 45.9±10.1 years. The techniques are highly variable in terms of procedure: different operators, needle guidance, injection sites, drugs, tilt angle of the needle).


          The efficacy and the safety of the intradiscal procedures are not easily comparable due to different types of studies and their limited number. Further studies are needed to standardize the intradiscal injection technique/procedure to improve safety, repeatability and effectiveness, and last but not least to reduce peri- and postoperative care and health-care costs.

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          Most cited references 45

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          Chronic diseases in the European Union: the prevalence and health cost implications of chronic pain.

          The objective of this study was to assess recent data on the prevalence of chronic pain as part of chronic diseases; the prevalence of chronic pain as a chronic condition in its own right; the costs attributed to chronic pain; and the European Union (EU) policies to addressing chronic pain. Recent literature was reviewed for data on the prevalence and cost implications of chronic pain in the EU. Following on from an earlier systematic review, 8 databases were searched for prevalence and 10 for cost information from 2009 to 2011 and relevant EU organizations were contacted. Ten cost and 29 prevalence studies were included from the 142 full papers screened. The general adult population reported an average chronic pain prevalence of 27%, which was similar to those for common chronic conditions. Fibromyalgia had the highest unemployment rate (6%; Rivera et al., Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2009;27[Suppl 56]:S39-S45) claims for incapacity benefit (up to 29.9%; Sicras-Mainar et al., Arthritis Res Ther. 2009;11:R54), and greatest number of days of absence from work (Rivera et al., Clin Exp Rheumatol. 2009;27[Suppl 56]:S39-S45). Chronic pain is common and the total population cost is high. Despite its high impact, chronic pain as a condition seems to have had little specific policy response. However, there does appear to be sufficient evidence to at least make addressing chronic pain a high priority alongside other chronic diseases as well as to conduct more research, particularly regarding cost.
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            The relative contributions of the disc and zygapophyseal joint in chronic low back pain.

            A prospective cross-sectional analytic approach was taken. This study sought to determine the relative contribution of the disc and the zygapophyseal joint as a pain source in patients with chronic low back pain. Previous studies have employed either zygapophyseal joint blocks or discography, but in no studies have both procedures been performed. Ninety-two consecutive patients with chronic low back pain were studied using both discography and blocks of the zygapophyseal joints. Thirty-six patients (39%) had at least one positive discogram as defined by exact pain reproduction, an abnormal image, and a negative control. Eight patients responded to both a screening zygapophyseal joint block using lignocaine and a confirmatory block using bupivacaine. Only three patients had both a positive discogram and a symptomatic zygapophyseal joint. In patients with chronic low back pain, the combination of discogenic pain and zygapophyseal joint pain is uncommon.
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              The tissue origin of low back pain and sciatica: a report of pain response to tissue stimulation during operations on the lumbar spine using local anesthesia.

              In an effort to define the origin of low back pain and sciatica, 193 patients were carefully studied using progressive local anesthesia. These patients had surgery for herniated discs, spinal stenoses, or both. Various tissues were stimulated during the performance of these lumbar spinal operations. This article discusses our observations and the results of that study.

                Author and article information

                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Ther Clin Risk Manag
                Therapeutics and Clinical Risk Management
                09 October 2020
                : 16
                : 953-968
                [1 ]Rheumatology, S. Pietro Fatebenefratelli Hospital , Rome, Italy
                [2 ]Physical and Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Rome “Tor Vergata” , Rome, Italy
                [3 ]Radiology, Fatebenefratelli S. Pietro Hospital , Rome, Italy
                [4 ]Research Centre of Systemic Autoinflammatory Diseases Behcet Disease Clinic and Rheumatology-Ophthalmology Collaborative Uveitis Centre Department of Medical Sciences Surgery and Neurosciences, University of Siena , Siena, Italy
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Andrea Sorbino Email a.sorbino@quaderni.biz
                © 2020 Migliore et al.

                This work is published and licensed by Dove Medical Press Limited. The full terms of this license are available at https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php and incorporate the Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/). By accessing the work you hereby accept the Terms. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed. For permission for commercial use of this work, please see paragraphs 4.2 and 5 of our Terms ( https://www.dovepress.com/terms.php).

                Page count
                Figures: 2, Tables: 5, References: 46, Pages: 16
                Funded by: not supported;
                This work is not supported by funds.


                discopathy, guidance, injection, intradiscal injections, low back pain, safety


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