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      The Efficacy of Therapeutic Selective Nerve Block in Treating Lumbar Radiculopathy and Avoiding Surgery

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          Selective nerve root block (SNRB) is a procedure that can be used as a diagnostic or a therapeutic method. SNRB can be used in multiple sites, including cervical and lumbar . Our study aims to investigate the clinical effectiveness of the use of fluoroscopically guided therapeutic selective nerve root block as a non-surgical symptom management of lumbar radiculopathy.

          Patients and Methods

          This is a prospective study of therapeutic nerve root block in 76 patients with low back pain and/or sciatica at Jordan University Hospital. Data was collected by independent clinical interviewers, and visual analogue score (VAS) was used to measure pain severity.


          A total of 76 patients, 25 (32.8%) males and 51 (67.2%) females, underwent SNRB. 69 (90.7%) patients improved immediately after the procedure. Out of the total, 22 (28.9%) patients showed a long-term relief of symptoms and did not experience any recurrence during the three months of follow-up, while 47 (61.8%) experienced a recurrence of pain. In patients experiencing recurrence of symptoms, 35 needed surgery.


          Therapeutic SNRB is an important procedure in the pain management of patients with lumbar radiculopathy caused by lumbar disc prolapse and foraminal stenosis. Our study showed that avoidance of surgery was achieved in up to 54% of patients; pain relief for at least 6 months was achieved in up to 29% of patients after a single SNRB. This makes it a very good second line of management after conservative treatment and a possible method to delay, and sometimes cease, the need for surgery.

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          Most cited references 20

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          Interventional therapies, surgery, and interdisciplinary rehabilitation for low back pain: an evidence-based clinical practice guideline from the American Pain Society.

          Clinical practice guideline. To develop evidence-based recommendations on use of interventional diagnostic tests and therapies, surgeries, and interdisciplinary rehabilitation for low back pain of any duration, with or without leg pain. Management of patients with persistent and disabling low back pain remains a clinical challenge. A number of interventional diagnostic tests and therapies and surgery are available and their use is increasing, but in some cases their utility remains uncertain or controversial. Interdisciplinary rehabilitation has also been proposed as a potentially effective noninvasive intervention for persistent and disabling low back pain. A multidisciplinary panel was convened by the American Pain Society. Its recommendations were based on a systematic review that focused on evidence from randomized controlled trials. Recommendations were graded using methods adapted from the US Preventive Services Task Force and the Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development, and Evaluation Working Group. Investigators reviewed 3348 abstracts. A total of 161 randomized trials were deemed relevant to the recommendations in this guideline. The panel developed a total of 8 recommendations. Recommendations on use of interventional diagnostic tests and therapies, surgery, and interdisciplinary rehabilitation are presented. Due to important trade-offs between potential benefits, harms, costs, and burdens of alternative therapies, shared decision-making is an important component of a number of the recommendations.
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            Diagnosis and treatment of sciatica.

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              Surgery versus conservative management of sciatica due to a lumbar herniated disc: a systematic review

              The effectiveness of surgery in patients with sciatica due to lumbar disc herniations is not without dispute. The goal of this study was to assess the effects of surgery versus conservative therapy (including epidural injections) for patients with sciatica due to lumbar disc herniation. A comprehensive search was conducted in MEDLINE, EMBASE, CINAHL, CENTRAL, and PEDro up to October 2009. Randomised controlled trials of adults with lumbar radicular pain, which evaluated at least one clinically relevant outcome measure (pain, functional status, perceived recovery, lost days of work) were included. Two authors assessed risk of bias according to Cochrane criteria and extracted the data. In total, five studies were identified, two of which with a low risk of bias. One study compared early surgery with prolonged conservative care followed by surgery if needed; three studies compared surgery with usual conservative care, and one study compared surgery with epidural injections. Data were not pooled because of clinical heterogeneity and poor reporting of data. One large low-risk-of-bias trial demonstrated that early surgery in patients with 6–12 weeks of radicular pain leads to faster pain relief when compared with prolonged conservative treatment, but there were no differences after 1 and 2 years. Another large low-risk-of-bias trial between surgery and usual conservative care found no statistically significant differences on any of the primary outcome measures after 1 and 2 years. Future studies should evaluate who benefits more from surgery and who from conservative care.

                Author and article information

                J Pain Res
                J Pain Res
                Journal of Pain Research
                18 November 2020
                : 13
                : 2971-2978
                [1 ]Division of Neurosurgery & Spine Unit, Special Surgery Department, University of Jordan , Amman, Jordan
                [2 ]School of Medicine, University of Jordan , Amman, Jordan
                [3 ]Internal Medicine Department, University of Jordan , Amman, Jordan
                [4 ]Special Surgery Department, University of Jordan , Amman, Jordan
                [5 ]Division of Orthopedic Surgery & Spine Unit, Special Surgery Department, University of Jordan , Amman, Jordan
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Tareq Kanaan Division of Neurosurgery & Spine Unit, Special Surgery Department, University of Jordan , Queen Rania St, Amman11942, JordanTel +962 799731700 Email tkanaan@web.de
                © 2020 Kanaan 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: 3, Tables: 6, References: 20, Pages: 8
                Original Research


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