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      Epidural injections with or without steroids in managing chronic low back pain secondary to lumbar spinal stenosis: a meta-analysis of 13 randomized controlled trials

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          Abstract

          Background

          Epidural injections of anesthetic with or without steroids are widely used for treating lumbar spinal stenosis, a common cause of chronic low back pain, but there is a lack of rigorous data comparing the effectiveness of epidural injections of anesthetic with and without steroids. This meta-analysis presents a current, comprehensive picture of how epidural injections of anesthetic with steroids compare with those using local anesthetic alone.

          Methods

          PubMed, Embase, Web of Science, and Cochrane Library databases were searched from their inception through February 5, 2015. Weight mean difference, risk ratio, and 95% confidence intervals were calculated. A random effects model or fixed effects model was used to pool the estimates, according to the heterogeneity between the included studies.

          Results

          We included 13 randomized controlled trials, involving 1,465 patients. Significant pain relief (≥50%) was demonstrated in 53.7% of patients administered with epidural injections of anesthetic with steroids (group 1) and in 56.4% of those administered with local anesthetic alone (group 2). Patients showed a reduction in numeric rating scale pain score of 3.7 and 3.6 in the two groups, respectively. Significant functional improvement was achieved in 65.2% of patients in group 1 and 63.1% of patients in group 2, with Oswestry Disability Index reductions of 13.8 and 14.5 points, respectively. The overall number of injections per year was 3.2±1.3 and 3.4±1.2 with average total relief per year of 29.3±19.7 and 33.8±19.3 weeks, respectively. The opioid intakes decreased from baseline by 12.4 and 7.8 mg, respectively. Among the outcomes listed, only total relief time differed significantly between the two groups.

          Conclusion

          Both epidural injections with steroids or with local anesthetic alone provide significant pain relief and functional improvement in managing chronic low back pain secondary to lumbar spinal stenosis, and the inclusion of steroids confers no advantage compared to local anesthetic alone.

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          Most cited references 40

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          A radicular syndrome from developmental narrowing of the lumbar vertebral canal.

           H Verbiest (1954)
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            Comprehensive evidence-based guidelines for interventional techniques in the management of chronic spinal pain.

            Comprehensive, evidence-based guidelines for interventional techniques in the management of chronic spinal pain are described here to provide recommendations for clinicians. To develop evidence-based clinical practice guidelines for interventional techniques in the diagnosis and treatment of chronic spinal pain. Systematic assessment of the literature. Strength of evidence was assessed by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) criteria utilizing 5 levels of evidence ranging from Level I to III with 3 subcategories in Level II. Short-term pain relief was defined as relief lasting at least 6 months and long-term relief was defined as longer than 6 months, except for intradiscal therapies, mechanical disc decompression, spinal cord stimulation and intrathecal infusion systems, wherein up to one year relief was considered as short-term. The indicated evidence for accuracy of diagnostic facet joint nerve blocks is Level I or II-1 in the diagnosis of lumbar, thoracic, and cervical facet joint pain. The evidence for lumbar and cervical provocation discography and sacroiliac joint injections is Level II-2, whereas it is Level II-3 for thoracic provocation discography. The indicated evidence for therapeutic interventions is Level I for caudal epidural steroid injections in managing disc herniation or radiculitis, and discogenic pain without disc herniation or radiculitis. The evidence is Level I or II-1 for percutaneous adhesiolysis in management of pain secondary to post-lumbar surgery syndrome. The evidence is Level II-1 or II-2 for therapeutic cervical, thoracic, and lumbar facet joint nerve blocks; for caudal epidural injections in managing pain of post-lumbar surgery syndrome, and lumbar spinal stenosis, for cervical interlaminar epidural injections in managing cervical pain (Level II-1); for lumbar transforaminal epidural injections; and spinal cord stimulation for post-lumbar surgery syndrome. The indicated evidence for intradiscal electrothermal therapy (IDET), mechanical disc decompression with automated percutaneous lumbar discectomy (APLD), and percutaneous lumbar laser discectomy (PLDD) is Level II-2. The limitations of these guidelines include a continued paucity of the literature, lack of updates, and conflicts in preparation of systematic reviews and guidelines by various organizations. The indicated evidence for diagnostic and therapeutic interventions is variable from Level I to III. These guidelines include the evaluation of evidence for diagnostic and therapeutic procedures in managing chronic spinal pain and recommendations for managing spinal pain. However, these guidelines do not constitute inflexible treatment recommendations. Further, these guidelines also do not represent "standard of care."
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              A randomized trial of epidural glucocorticoid injections for spinal stenosis.

              Epidural glucocorticoid injections are widely used to treat symptoms of lumbar spinal stenosis, a common cause of pain and disability in older adults. However, rigorous data are lacking regarding the effectiveness and safety of these injections.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Des Devel Ther
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Drug Design, Development and Therapy
                Dove Medical Press
                1177-8881
                2015
                13 August 2015
                : 9
                : 4657-4667
                Affiliations
                Department of Orthopedics, Beijing Friendship Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, People’s Republic of China
                Author notes
                Correspondence: Nan Su, Department of Orthopedics, Beijing Friendship Hospital, Capital Medical University, No 95, Yong’an Road, Xicheng District, Beijing 100050, People’s Republic of China, Tel +86 13 8101 48569, Email 898988619@ 123456qq.com
                Article
                dddt-9-4657
                10.2147/DDDT.S85524
                4541560
                © 2015 Meng et al. This work is published by Dove Medical Press Limited, and licensed under Creative Commons Attribution – Non Commercial (unported, v3.0) License

                The full terms of the License are available at http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/3.0/. Non-commercial uses of the work are permitted without any further permission from Dove Medical Press Limited, provided the work is properly attributed.

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