Objective: This study was carried out to evaluate the therapeutic effect of epidural steroid injection on pseudoclaudication in patients with lumbar degenerative spinal canal stenosis.
Design: Fifty-three patients who complained of pseudoclaudication of less than 20 m in walking distance were randomly divided into three groups. Group 1 (n = 16) underwent epidural injection with 8 ml of saline. Group 2 (n = 18) underwent epidural block with 8 ml of 1% mepivacaine. Group 3 (n = 19) underwent epidural block with a combination of 8 ml of 1% mepivacaine and 40 mg of methylprednisolone. The criteria of evaluation were as follows: excellent effect, > 100 m in walking distance; good effect, 20-100 m in walking distance; poor effect, <20 m in walking distance.
Results: In group 1, the numbers of patients who showed a good effect were two (12.5%) after 1 week, one (6.5%) after 1 month, and one (6.5%) after 3 months. In group 2, the numbers of patients who showed a good or excellent result were 10 (55.5%) after 1 week, three (16.7%) after 1 month, and one (5.6%) after 3 months. In group 3, the numbers of patients who showed a good or excellent result were 12 (63.2%) after 1 week, three (15.8%) after 1 month, and one (5.3%) after 3 months. There was no significant difference in the effectiveness of treatment between group 2 and group 3 throughout the time course.
Conclusion: The results suggest that epidural steroid injection has no beneficial effect on the pseudoclaudication associated with spinal canal stenosis as compared with epidural block with a local anesthetic alone.