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Intradiscal Steroid Injections for Degenerative Disc Disease With Modic Changes: A Retrospective Study of Therapeutic and Diagnostic Features

Cureus. 2024 Apr 15;16(4):e58333. doi: 10.7759/cureus.58333. eCollection 2024 Apr.


PURPOSE: Anterior column pain refers to axial low back pain (LBP) originating from the intervertebral disc or vertebral endplates (discogenic or vertebrogenic pain). We sought to assess the safety and effectiveness of intradiscal steroid injection (IDSI) in diagnosing and treating patients with LBP arising from the anterior column.

PATIENTS AND METHODS: This is a retrospective chart review of 66 patients who underwent 77 injections in an outpatient, private practice setting for the treatment of chronic lower back with history and physical exam findings indicating an origin within the anterior column and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) findings of Modic changes associated with disc degeneration of grade 4 or above on the modified Pfirrmann scale. Patients reported pain as measured by the numerical rating scale (NRS) before the injection, at the time of their follow-up, and their maximum pain relief. The primary outcome was the change in NRS before and after the injections. The secondary outcome determined if the changes in the subjects’ NRS met the minimal clinically important change (MCIC) criteria for LBP. We conducted a statistical analysis using a paired sample t-test.

RESULTS: There was a statistically significant difference between the pre-injection and follow-up NRS scores (p < 0.001) and a significant difference between pre-injection and maximum relief NRS scores (p < 0.001). Most subjects (55/77, 71.4%) met the MCIC to relieve their chronic LBP at the time of the follow-up evaluation.

CONCLUSION: For patients with chronic LBP and degenerative endplate changes, IDSIs provided these patients with significant short-term pain relief from pain arising from the anterior column.

PMID:38752073 | PMC:PMC11094660 | DOI:10.7759/cureus.58333

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