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      Combined epidural morphine and bupivacaine in the treatment of lumbosacral radicular neuropathic pain: a noncontrolled prospective study

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          The aim of this study was to investigate the therapeutic effectiveness of epidural morphine and bupivacaine in patients with chronic lumbosacral radicular neuropathic pain after the cessation of treatment.


          Twenty-two patients with chronic lumbosacral pain with neuropathic features were enrolled. An indwelling catheter was placed into the epidural space, and each patient received an epidural injection of morphine chlorhydrate and bupivacaine up to three times a day. The medication was administered for 4 weeks. The pain intensity score on a 0–10 numeric rating scale (NRS), the total pain rating index rank (PRIr-T), and its coefficients were evaluated before treatment and 1 month after catheter removal. P-value <0.05 was considered statistically significant.


          NRS and PRIr-T were significantly reduced at follow-up ( P=0.001 and P=0.03, respectively), whereas the parallel evolution of the two scores ( r=0.75 and P<0.001, respectively) confirmed significant pain relief lasting up to 1 month after treatment cessation. None of the four pain rating coefficients was significantly modified compared to the others in either responders or nonresponders. Successful clinical outcome (pain reduction >30% in NRS) was reached and maintained in half of the patients at follow-up.


          Combined epidural morphine and bupivacaine seems to be effective in the treatment of neuropathic pain.

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          Most cited references 29

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          Evaluation of specific stabilizing exercise in the treatment of chronic low back pain with radiologic diagnosis of spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis.

          A randomized, controlled trial, test--retest design, with a 3-, 6-, and 30-month postal questionnaire follow-up. To determine the efficacy of a specific exercise intervention in the treatment of patients with chronic low back pain and a radiologic diagnosis of spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis. A recent focus in the physiotherapy management of patients with back pain has been the specific training of muscles surrounding the spine (deep abdominal muscles and lumbar multifidus), considered to provide dynamic stability and fine control to the lumbar spine. In no study have researchers evaluated the efficacy of this intervention in a population with chronic low back pain where the anatomic stability of the spine was compromised. Forty-four patients with this condition were assigned randomly to two treatment groups. The first group underwent a 10-week specific exercise treatment program involving the specific training of the deep abdominal muscles, with co-activation of the lumbar multifidus proximal to the pars defects. The activation of these muscles was incorporated into previously aggravating static postures and functional tasks. The control group underwent treatment as directed by their treating practitioner. After intervention, the specific exercise group showed a statistically significant reduction in pain intensity and functional disability levels, which was maintained at a 30-month follow-up. The control group showed no significant change in these parameters after intervention or at follow-up. A "specific exercise" treatment approach appears more effective than other commonly prescribed conservative treatment programs in patients with chronically symptomatic spondylolysis or spondylolisthesis.
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            Descending pain modulation and chronification of pain.

            Chronic pain is an important public health problem that negatively impacts quality of life of affected individuals and exacts an enormous socio-economic cost. Currently available therapeutics provide inadequate management of pain in many patients. Acute pain states generally resolve in most patients. However, for reasons that are poorly understood, in some individuals, acute pain can transform to a chronic state. Our understanding of the risk factors that underlie the development of chronic pain is limited. Recent studies have suggested an important contribution of dysfunction in descending pain modulatory circuits to pain 'chronification'. Human studies provide insights into possible endogenous and exogenous factors that may promote the conversion of pain into a chronic condition. Descending pain modulatory systems have been studied and characterized in animal models. Human brain imaging techniques, deep brain stimulation and the mechanisms of action of drugs that are effective in the treatment of pain confirm the clinical relevance of top-down pain modulatory circuits. Growing evidence supports the concept that chronic pain is associated with a dysregulation in descending pain modulation. Disruption of the balance of descending modulatory circuits to favour facilitation may promote and maintain chronic pain. Recent findings suggest that diminished descending inhibition is likely to be an important element in determining whether pain may become chronic. This view is consistent with the clinical success of drugs that enhance spinal noradrenergic activity, such as serotonin/norepinephrine reuptake inhibitors (SNRIs), in the treatment of chronic pain states. Consistent with this concept, a robust descending inhibitory system may be normally engaged to protect against the development of chronic pain. Imaging studies show that higher cortical and subcortical centres that govern emotional, motivational and cognitive processes communicate directly with descending pain modulatory circuits providing a mechanistic basis to explain how exogenous factors can influence the expression of chronic pain in a susceptible individual. Preclinical studies coupled with clinical pharmacologic and neuroimaging investigations have advanced our understanding of brain circuits that modulate pain. Descending pain facilitatory and inhibitory circuits arising ultimately in the brainstem provide mechanisms that can be engaged to promote or protect against pain 'chronification'. These systems interact with higher centres, thus providing a means through which exogenous factors can influence the risk of pain chronification. A greater understanding of the role of descending pain modulation can lead to novel therapeutic directions aimed at normalizing aberrant processes that can lead to chronic pain.
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              Attacking pain at its source: new perspectives on opioids.

              The treatment of severe pain with opioids has thus far been limited by their unwanted central side effects. Recent research promises new approaches, including opioid analgesics acting outside the central nervous system, targeting of opioid peptide-containing immune cells to peripheral damaged tissue, and gene transfer to enhance opioid production at sites of injury.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                Journal of Pain Research
                Dove Medical Press
                21 November 2016
                : 9
                : 1081-1087
                [1 ]Department of Experimental Biomedicine and Clinical Neurosciences, University of Palermo, Palermo
                [2 ]Advanced Algology Research and Pain Medicine Unit, Santa Maria Maddalena Hospital, Occhiobello, RO, Italy
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Simone Vigneri, Advanced Algology Research and Pain Medicine Unit, Santa Maria Maddalena Hospital, Via Gorizia 2, 45030 Occhiobello, RO, Italy, Tel +39 04 2576 8400, Fax +39 04 2576 8460, Email simone.vigneri@ 123456gmail.com
                © 2016 Vigneri 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.

                Original Research

                Anesthesiology & Pain management

                chronic pain, epidural, neuropathic pain, bupivacaine, opioids


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