The role of epidural steroid injections in the treatment of pain in patients with degenerative changes in the lumbar spine
Keywords:epidural steroid injections, degenerative changes, spine
Epidural steroid injections of the lumbar spine are a common interventional procedure that is used to alleviate radicular pain resulting from degenerative changes in the spine. Although several studies have compared epidural steroid injections with placebo with favorable outcomes, randomized controlled trials in this direction are needed. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the effectiveness of the use of epidural steroid injections in the treatment of pain in patients with degenerative lesions of the lumbar spine. During the study, 262 patients with degenerative lesions of the spine at one or two levels of the vertebral-motor segment (VMS) were selected. Epidurally transforaminally under fluoroscopic control all patients received steroid injections at the appropriate level (s) of VMS on the basis of the rehabilitation department of the Institute of Traumatology and Orthopedics of the National Academy of Medical Sciences of Ukraine during 2017-2019. Of the 262 patients who received epidural steroid injections, 204 were able to reduce pain and avoid surgery within one year. However, 58 patients experienced only slight pain relief and were recommended surgical treatment. In our study, patients with negative results were offered surgery after 1.98 ESI procedures with an interval of 3.7 months. In the group of operated patients, the preliminary use of steroid injections did not bring relief by the results of Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) and Visual Analog scale (VAS), however, the condition of these patients improved significantly after surgery (p<0.05). The use of epidural injections is possible as a first-line therapy in patients with moderate functional limitations, which can subsequently be directed to surgery in the absence of a positive result.
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