Three articles on PainSci cite Manchikanti 2012: 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 Manchikanti 2012: ?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 tiny review was based on extremely limited evidence: just four studies (three non-randomized), and “The only positive studies were of medial branch blocks performed by the same group of authors” (e.g. Manchikanti 2008) … who also happen to be the authors of this review. That doesn’t mean they are wrong, of course, but it’s an important caveat. The word they chose to describe this level of evidence was “fair.” I’m not sure that’s fair! They are mostly just re-reporting the positive results of their own trials.
They also concluded there wasn’t enough evidence about intraarticular injections and radiofrequency neurotomy. They probably should have concluded the same about medial branch blocks!
This paper is very similar to Falco et al, regarding the cervical spine (again involving some of the same researchers).
~ 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: Chronic mid back and upper back pain caused by thoracic facet joints has been reported in 34% to 48% of patients based on responses to controlled diagnostic blocks. Systematic reviews have established moderate evidence for controlled comparative local anesthetic blocks of thoracic facet joints in the diagnosis of mid back and upper back pain, moderate evidence for therapeutic thoracic medial branch blocks, and limited evidence for radiofrequency neurotomy of thoracic medial branches.
STUDY DESIGN: Systematic review of therapeutic thoracic facet joint interventions.
OBJECTIVE: To determine the clinical utility of therapeutic thoracic facet joint interventions in the therapeutic management of chronic upper back and mid back pain.
METHODS: The available literature for the utility of facet joint interventions in the therapeutic management of thoracic facet joint pain was reviewed. The quality assessment and clinical relevance criteria utilized were the Cochrane Musculoskeletal Review Group criteria as utilized for interventional techniques for randomized trials and the criteria developed by the Newcastle-Ottawa Scale criteria for observational studies. The level of evidence was classified as good, fair, and limited (or poor) based on the quality of evidence developed by the U.S. Preventive Services Task Force (USPSTF). Data sources included relevant literature identified through searches of PubMed and EMBASE from 1966 to March 2012, and manual searches of the bibliographies of known primary and review articles.
OUTCOME MEASURES: The primary outcome measure was pain relief (short-term relief = up to 6 months and long-term> 6 months). Secondary outcome measures were improvement in functional status, psychological status, return to work, and reduction in opioid intake.
RESULTS: For this systematic review, 13 studies were identified. Of these, 7 studies were excluded, and a total of 4 studies (after removal of duplicate publication) met inclusion criteria for methodological quality assessment with one randomized trial and 3 non-randomized studies. The evidence is fair for therapeutic thoracic facet joint nerve blocks, limited for thoracic radiofrequency neurotomy, and not available for thoracic intraarticular injections.
LIMITATIONS: The limitation of this systematic review includes a paucity of literature. The only positive studies were of medial branch blocks performed by the same group of authors. «The authors of this review!»
CONCLUSION: The evidence for therapeutic facet joint interventions is fair for medial branch blocks, whereas it is not available for intraarticular injections, and limited for radiofrequency neurotomy due to lack of literature.
- “Cervical medial branch blocks for chronic cervical facet joint pain: a randomized, double-blind, controlled trial with one-year follow-up,” Laxmaiah Manchikanti, Vijay Singh, Frank J E Falco, Kimberly M Cash, and Bert Fellows, Spine, 2008.
- “Systematic review of diagnostic utility and therapeutic effectiveness of thoracic facet joint interventions,” Sairam Atluri, Sukdeb Datta, Frank J E Falco, and Marion Lee, Pain Physician, 2008.
- “Injection therapy for subacute and chronic low back pain: an updated Cochrane review,” J Bart Staal, Rob A de Bie, Henrica C W de Vet, Jan Hildebrandt, and Patty Nelemans, Spine, 2009.
- “Systematic assessment of diagnostic accuracy and therapeutic utility of lumbar facet joint interventions,” Sukdeb Datta, Marion Lee, Frank J E Falco, David A Bryce, and Salim M Hayek, Pain Physician, 2009.
- “Systematic review of the therapeutic effectiveness of cervical facet joint interventions: an update,” Frank J E Falco, Laxmaiah Manchikanti, Sukdeb Datta, Bradley W Wargo, Stephanie Geffert, David A Bryce, Sairam Atluri, Vijay Singh, Ramsin M Benyamin, Nalini Sehgal, Stephen P Ward, 2nd Helm, Sanjeeva Gupta, and Mark V Boswell, 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:
- No long-term effects after a three-week open-label placebo treatment for chronic low back pain: a three-year follow-up of a randomized controlled trial. Kleine-Borgmann 2022 Pain.
- Exercise and education versus saline injections for knee osteoarthritis: a randomised controlled equivalence trial. Bandak 2022 Ann Rheum Dis.
- Association of Lumbar MRI Findings with Current and Future Back Pain in a Population-based Cohort Study. Kasch 2022 Spine (Phila Pa 1976).
- A double-blinded randomised controlled study of the value of sequential intravenous and oral magnesium therapy in patients with chronic low back pain with a neuropathic component. Yousef 2013 Anaesthesia.
- Is Neck Posture Subgroup in Late Adolescence a Risk Factor for Persistent Neck Pain in Young Adults? A Prospective Study. Richards 2021 Phys Ther.