DRK: CT targets cortisone treatment in back pain patients

CT can effectively help doctors target cortisone injections in patients with chronic back pain, according to research presented at the annual German Radiology Congress (DRK) in Hamburg.

For the study, Euskirchener neuroradiologist Dr. Ulrich von Smekal and colleagues included 320 patients with chronic back pain who, with CT guidance, were injected with 40 mg of the long-acting cortisone preparation triamcinolone, combined with the local anesthetic bupivacaine. Patient pain was evaluated before the intervention and three months later. The researchers recorded patients' intensity of discomfort and their ability to work.

After three months, 89.9% of patients' radicular pain symptoms (from the nerve roots) were improved. For pseudoradicular (from vertebral joints) pain, the success rate was 84%, von Smekal's group found. Also three months after treatment, two-thirds of the study participants were back to work.

CT-guided pain therapy must be conducted along with physiotherapy and behavioral changes, von Smekal's team noted.

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