Evaluation of the relative contributions of various structures in chronic low back pain

Pain Physician. 2001 Oct;4(4):308-16.


An attempt was made to determine the relative contribution of various structures to chronic low back pain, including facet joint(s), disc(s), and sacroiliac joint(s) in a prospective evaluation. Precision diagnostic blocks, including disc injections, facet joint blocks, and sacroiliac joint injections, are frequently used. In contrast, selective nerve root blocks or transforaminal epidural injections are used occasionally to evaluate persistent or recurrent low back pain in patients without appropriate radiologic or neurophysiologic diagnosis. One hundred and twenty patients with a chief complaint of low back pain were evaluated with precision diagnostic injections, which included medial branch blocks, provocative discography and sacroiliac joint injections. In 40% (95% CL, 31%, 49%), of the patients, facet joint pain was diagnosed; and in 26% (95% CL, 18%, 34%) of the patients discogenic pain was diagnosed; and 2% of the patients were diagnosed with sacroiliac joint pain.