Interventional therapies for chronic low back pain

Elias Veizi, Salim Hayek
Neuromodulation: Journal of the International Neuromodulation Society 2014, 17 Suppl 2: 31-45

OBJECTIVE: Low back pain (LBP) is a highly prevalent condition and one of the leading causes of lost productivity and health-care costs. The objective of this review is to discuss the role of interventional pain procedures and evidence of their effectiveness in treatment of chronic LBP.

METHODS: This is a narrative review examining published studies on interventional procedures for LBP. The rationales, indications, technique, evidence, and complications for the interventional procedures are discussed.

RESULTS: Interventional pain procedures are used extensively in diagnosis and treatment of chronic pain. LBP is multifactorial, and while significant progress has been made in understanding its pathophysiology, this has not resulted in a proportional improvement of functional outcomes. For certain procedures, such as spinal cord stimulation, medical branch blocks and radiofrequency ablations, and epidural steroid injections for radiculopathy, safety, efficacy, and cost-effectiveness in treating LBP have been well studied. For others, such as interventions for discogenic pain, treatment successes have been modest at best.

CONCLUSIONS: Implementation of interventional pain procedures in the treatment framework of LBP has resulted in improvement of pain intensity in at least the short and medium terms, but equivocal results have been observed in functional improvement.

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