Back pain is a common condition, that is often difficult to treat. Lumbar degenerative facet joints, lumbar disc disease and sacroiliac joint pain account for nearly 70% of cases of lower back pain. Unfortunately as the incidence of degenerative changes in the spine is so high (e.g disc abnormalities are found in 25% of individuals below the age of 60, and over 50% in those over the age of 60), it is sometimes difficult to confidently identify the cause of pain, without careful correlation with clinical findings and potentially diagnostic injections.
The other role of spinal injections is to treat non-operative back pain.
Procedures include :
- sacroiliac joint injection
- facet joint injection
- spinal epidural injection
- transforaminal nerve root block
The following are general contraindications to elective spinal interventional procedures:
- active sepsis
- known allergy to local anaesthetic / steroids / contrast agents
- bleeding tendencies
- bleeding with possible epidural haematoma requiring evacuation or resulting in weakness etc...
- infection with possible epidural abscess requiring evacuation or resulting in weakness etc...
- neural compression or ischaemia
- decrease in diabetic control
- gastritis (especially if the patient is on concurrent NSAID
- intrathecal injection of steroids may result in arachnoiditis
- repeated steroid injections may result in epidural lipomatosis
As in everything, there are many variations on this theme
- spinal needle for deep injection (typically a 22G or 25G)
- skin needle for local anaesthetic
- local anaesthetic to skin and superficial structures (e.g lignocaine 1 or 2%)
- therapeutic cocktail
- bupivacaine 0.2% to 0.5%, 1 - 2ml
- steroid approved for epidural injection