Epidural Corticosteroid Injection in the Conservative Management of Sciatica


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Abstract

In this prospective randomized clinical trial, the results of epidural corticosteroid injections were evaluated in patients with lumbosciatic pain caused by herniated nucleus pulposus. Thirty-six patients with radicular lumbosciatic pain and positive straight leg raising test because of confirmed prolapsed intervertebral lumbar discs were randomized into two groups with (17 patients) and without (19 patients) epidural corticosteroid injection. Members of the treatment groups received three injections of 100 mg methylprednisolone in 10 mL bupivacaine 0.25% each. Additional therapy was standardized and identical in both groups. Followup examinations were performed at 2 weeks, 6 weeks, and 6 months. The examinations included pain level (visual analogue scale), straight leg raising test, and functional status (Hannover Functional Ability Questionnaire). At 2 weeks, patients receiving methylprednisolone injection showed a significant improvement in straight leg raising test results compared with patients in the control group. Results were better in the methylprednisolone group, although not statistically significant for pain relief and mobility. At 6 weeks and 6 months, pain relief, improvement of straight leg raising, and improvement of functional status showed no statistical significance. Epidural corticosteroid injections can be recommended as additional therapy only in the acute phase of the conservative management of lumbosciatic pain.

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