Three articles on PainSci cite Datta 2009: 1. The Complete Guide to Low Back Pain 2. The Complete Guide to Neck Pain & Cricks 3. Do Nerve Blocks Work for Neck Pain and Low Back Pain?
PainSci commentary on Datta 2009: ?This page is one of thousands in the PainScience.com bibliography. It is not a general article: it is focused on a single scientific paper, and it may provide only just enough context for the summary to make sense. Links to other papers and more general information are provided wherever possible.
This review of diagnosis and treatment of lumbar facet joints found very little, a “paucity of published literature,” but what they did find seemed to be positive: good evidence for diagnostic nerve blocks, and fair when using them for treatment. Notably, Staal concluded that the literature was too scanty to conclude anything.
~ Paul Ingraham
original abstract †Abstracts here may not perfectly match originals, for a variety of technical and practical reasons. Some abstacts are truncated for my purposes here, if they are particularly long-winded and unhelpful. I occasionally add clarifying notes. And I make some minor corrections.
BACKGROUND: Lumbar facet joints are a well recognized source of low back pain and referred pain in the lower extremity in patients with chronic low back pain. Conventional clinical features and other non-invasive diagnostic modalities are unreliable in diagnosing lumbar zygapophysial joint pain. Controlled diagnostic studies have shown the prevalence of lumbar facet joint pain in 27% to 40% of the patients with chronic low back pain without disc displacement or radiculitis, with a false-positive rate of 27% to 47% with a single diagnostic block.
STUDY DESIGN: A systematic review of diagnostic and therapeutic lumbar facet joint interventions.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the clinical utility of diagnostic and therapeutic lumbar facet joint interventions in managing chronic low back pain of facet joint origin.
METHODS: Review of the literature for clinical studies on efficacy and utility of facet joint interventions in diagnosing and managing facet joint pain was performed according to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) criteria for diagnostic studies and observational studies and the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Review Group criteria as utilized for interventional techniques for randomized trials. Data sources included relevant literature of the English language identified through searches of Medline and EMBASE from 1966 to December 2008 and manual searches of bibliographies of known primary and review articles. Analysis results were performed for diagnostic and therapeutic interventions separately.
LEVEL OF EVIDENCE: The level of evidence was defined as Level I, II, or III with 3 subcategories in Level II based on the quality of evidence developed by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF) for therapeutic interventions.
OUTCOME MEASURES: For diagnostic interventions, studies must have been performed utilizing controlled local anesthetic blocks. Pain relief was categorized as at least 80% pain relief from baseline pain and ability to perform previously painful movements. For therapeutic interventions, the primary outcome measure was pain relief with secondary outcome measures of improvement in functional status, psychological status, return to work, and reduction in opioid intake. For therapeutic interventions, short-term pain relief was defined as relief lasting 6 months or less and long-term relief as longer than 6 months.
RESULTS: Based on USPSTF criteria, evidence showed Level I or II-1 for diagnostic facet joint nerve blocks. Based on the review of included therapeutic studies, Level II-1 to II-2 evidence was indicated for lumbar facet joint nerve blocks with indicated level of evidence of Level II-2 to II-3 for lumbar radiofrequency neurotomy.
LIMITATIONS: The shortcoming of this systematic review of lumbar facet joint interventions is the paucity of published literature.
CONCLUSION: The evidence for diagnosis of lumbar facet joint pain with controlled local anesthetic blocks is Level I or II-1. The indicated level of evidence for therapeutic lumbar facet joint interventions is Level II-1 or II-2 for lumbar facet joint nerve blocks, Level II-2 or II-3 evidence for radiofrequency neurotomy, and Level III (limited) evidence for intraarticular injections.
- “Cervical medial branch blocks for chronic cervical facet joint pain: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial with one-year follow-up,” Manchikanti et al, Spine, 2008.
- “Systematic review of diagnostic utility and therapeutic effectiveness of thoracic facet joint interventions,” Atluri et al, Pain Physician, 2008.
- “Injection therapy for subacute and chronic low back pain: an updated Cochrane review,” Staal et al, Spine, 2009.
- “Systematic review of the therapeutic effectiveness of cervical facet joint interventions: an update,” Falco et al, Pain Physician, 2012.
- “An update of evaluation of therapeutic thoracic facet joint interventions,” Manchikanti et al, Pain Physician, 2012.
This page is part of the PainScience BIBLIOGRAPHY, which contains plain language summaries of thousands of scientific papers & others sources. It’s like a highly specialized blog. A few highlights:
- Cannabidiol (CBD) products for pain: ineffective, expensive, and with potential harms. Moore 2023 J Pain.
- Inciting events associated with lumbar disc herniation. Suri 2010 Spine J.
- Prediction of an extruded fragment in lumbar disc patients from clinical presentations. Pople 1994 Spine (Phila Pa 1976).
- Characteristics of patients with low back and leg pain seeking treatment in primary care: baseline results from the ATLAS cohort study. Konstantinou 2015 BMC Musculoskelet Disord.
- Effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of universal school-based mindfulness training compared with normal school provision in reducing risk of mental health problems and promoting well-being in adolescence: the MYRIAD cluster randomised controlled trial. Kuyken 2022 Evid Based Ment Health.