Pain response to perineuromal injection of normal saline, epinephrine, and lidocaine in humans

Pain. 1992 Apr;49(1):9-12. doi: 10.1016/0304-3959(92)90181-A.


In animal neuroma models the application of alpha-adrenergic agonists causes a burst of spontaneous afferent activity. The increased activity has been hypothesized to generate nociceptive input. Corroborative work in humans, however, has not been done. Nine subjects with chronic nerve end neuromas received perineuromal injections of normal saline, epinephrine (5 micrograms), and lidocaine in a blinded manner. Qualitative and quantitative pain assessments were performed with each injection. Epinephrine, but not saline, caused an intense increase in reported pain with subjects often commenting that the appendage was "on fire". Lidocaine significantly reduced but did not completely abolish the reported pain. The chemosensitivity of the neuroma to epinephrine may explain some of the clinical responses noted after sympathetic system manipulation. It is likely that alpha-adrenergic sensitivity is only one of many components sustaining or exacerbating pain after nerve injury.

MeSH terms

  • Epinephrine / administration & dosage*
  • Humans
  • Injections
  • Lidocaine / administration & dosage*
  • Neuroma / physiopathology*
  • Pain / chemically induced*
  • Pain / physiopathology
  • Pain Measurement
  • Sodium Chloride / administration & dosage*


  • Sodium Chloride
  • Lidocaine
  • Epinephrine