Nerve Block May Not Alleviate Back Pain

Published Online: Tuesday, October 1, 2002

New findings suggest that lumbar sympathetic nerve blocks given to people with lower back pain do not appear to reduce pain, improve mood, or reduce the need for analgesic medications.

The findings were reported at the 10th World Congress on Pain held August 17-22, 2002, in San Diego, CA.

Steven H. Sanders, PhD, program director in the Psychology Department at the Siskin Hospital for Physical Rehabilitation in Chattanooga, TN, evaluated 30 people with lower back pain who received the blocks and 30 who did not. (Dr. Sanders used blocks with anesthetic alone, without corticosteroid drugs.)

The 2 groups were matched for age, gender, duration of pain, and previous back surgery. After 6 months of follow-up, the 2 groups were similar in terms of pain, mood, and use of analgesics.

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