• Vol. 38 No. 2, 150–155
  • 15 February 2009

Interventional Management of Chronic Pain



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Chronic non-cancer pain is a common clinical condition affecting a significant part of the population. This article aims to review the interventional options for non-cancer pain. Multiple searches using Medline were carried out and additional searches were made using reference lists of published papers and book chapters. The article discussed procedures ranging from selective nerve root or zygapophyseal (facet) joint block with local anaesthetics to irreversible neurodestruction with radiofrequency energy or neurolytic agents and neuromodulation with spinal cord stimulation. Other techniques include intraspinal delivery of analgesics. There is evidence that these interventional procedures are valuable both diagnostically and therapeutically.

Chronic non-cancer pain is a common clinical condition afflicting 15% (2% to 40%) of the population with 13% of them experiencing some form of functional disability. It represents a significant drain on the physical, emotional and social state of the individual as well as an economic burden to the healthcare system. In 1998 alone, the United States of America spent US$90 billion to treat chronic non-cancer back pain and it was estimated that expenditure for this disease entity was 60% higher than what was spent to treat coronary artery disease and the acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) combined.

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