Pelvic pain as the presenting symptom of demyelinating disease is rare. We report on a 49-year-old female patient that initially had symptoms of pain and anesthesia in the perineum. Symptoms later evolved to include both lower and upper extremity weakness and were associated with enhancing spinal cord lesions on MRI. Recognizing that the patient’s disease was localized only to the spinal cord led to an eventual serological diagnosis of neuromyelitis optica (Devic’s disease), a demyelinating syndrome that is now considered distinct from multiple sclerosis and that primarily affects the spinal cord and optic nerves. Pelvic pain is an unusual first presentation of this illness. Additionally, this case illustrates the challenges of establishing a diagnosis of neuromyelitis optica. Recognizing the distinct clinical features of this rare illness, referring specifically from a spinal cord or ophthalmogical etiology, is essential for its rapid diagnosis, and hence for initiation of appropriate therapy.
demyelinating disease; pelvic pain; neuromyelitis optica (Devic's disease)
Chronic spine pain poses a peculiar diagnostic and therapeutic challenge due to multiple pain sources, overlapping clinical features and nonspecific radiological findings. Facet joint injection is an interventional pain management tool for facet-related spinal pain that can be effectively administered by a radiologist. This technique is the gold standard for identifying facet joints as the source of spinal pain. The major indications for facet injections include strong clinical suspicion of the facet syndrome, focal tenderness over the facet joints, low back pain with normal radiological findings, post-laminectomy syndrome with no evidence of arachnoiditis or recurrent disc disease, and persistent low back pain after spinal fusion. The contraindications are more ancillary, with none being absolute. Like any synovial joint degeneration, inflammation and injury can lead to pain on motion, initiating a vicious cycle of physical deconditioning, irritation of facet innervations and muscle spasm. Image-guided injection of local anesthetic and steroid into or around the facet joint aims to break this vicious cycle and thereby provide pain relief. This outpatient procedure has high diagnostic accuracy, safety and reproducibility but the therapeutic outcome is variable.
Facet syndrome; intra-articular facet injection; imaging-guided injections; interventional spinal procedures; low back pain; spinal pain
Studies of back pain are typically based on the assumption that symptoms from different parts of the spine are distinctive entities. Recently, however, the assumption that back pain is a site-specific disorder has been challenged, suggesting that localized back pain should be seen as part of a general musculoskeletal syndrome.
To describe and compare the patterns of reporting of pain and consequences of pain in the three spinal regions.
In all, 34,902 (74%) twin individuals representative of the general Danish population, aged 20 to 71, participated in a cross-sectional nation-wide survey. Identical questions from the Standardised Nordic Questionnaire for each of the three spinal regions were used for lumbar, mid-back and neck pain respectively: Pain past year, pain ever, radiating pain, and consequences of back pain (care-seeking, reduced physical activities, sick-leave, change of work/work duties and disability pension). The relative prevalence estimates of these variables were compared for the three spinal regions.
The relative proportions of individuals with pain ever, who also reported to have had pain in the past year varied between 75% and 80%, for the three spinal regions. The proportions of individuals with pain in the past year and for various pain durations were also very similar. Regardless if pain was reported in the lumbar, thoracic or cervical regions, the proportions of individuals reporting radiating pain were equally large. The relative number of consequences was the same across the spinal regions, as were the relative proportions of each these consequences. However, low back pain resulted more often in some kind of consequence compared to the consequences of pain in the neck and mid back.
Back pain and its consequences share many characteristics and may, at least in a general population, be regarded as the same condition regardless of where the pain happens to manifest itself. However, because some exceptions were noted for the lumbar spine, separate entities for a smaller group of individuals with back pain cannot be ruled out.
Acute spinal cord ischemia syndrome is a rare condition comprising a small fraction of neurovascular accidents, the majority of which occur within the cerebral circulation. The circulation of the spinal cord has several unique features that determine the clinical presentation.
In this case of a 67-year-old Caucasian man who came to our emergency department with sudden-onset, severe right-sided pain and bilateral upper limb weakness, an atypical pattern of sensory deficit was observed. In this case report, we review acute spinal cord ischemia syndrome and consider the pathophysiology, diagnostic measures and prognostic factors associated with patient recovery.
Acute spinal cord ischemia syndrome with atypical patterns of sensory deficit is uncommon. Clinicians must consider acute spinal cord ischemia syndrome when assessing all patients with acute neck pain and focal neurological deficits; atypical presentations can present a diagnostic challenge. Current knowledge of the long-term outcome in patients with spinal cord ischemia is based on only a few small studies, some of which are discussed here.
Continuous intrathecal drug delivery has been shown in open studies to improve pain and quality of life in those with intractable back pain who have had spinal surgery. There is limited data on long term effects and and even less for patients with mechanical back pain without prior spinal surgery.
We have investigated spinal drug administration systems for patients with failed back syndrome and chronic mechanical low back pain by patient questionnaire study of the efficacy of this therapy and a case notes review.
36 patients (97% of 37 approached) completed questionnaires, 24 with failed back syndrome and 12 with chronic mechanical low back pain. Recalled pre-treatment levels with current post-treatment levels of pain and a range of quality of life measures (recorded on 11-point numerical rating scales) were compared. Pain improved significantly in both groups (Wilcoxan signed ranks test, p < 0.005). The majority of quality of life measures improved significantly in the failed back syndrome group (Wilcoxan signed ranks test, p < 0.005) although work interruption and the effect of pain on sex life did not change. There was a trend towards improvement in the majority of quality of life measures in the mechanical back pain group but this did not reach statistical significance due to the smaller numbers in this cohort (p > 0.005, Wilcoxan signed ranks test with Bonferroni correction).
Diamorphine was used in all 37 patients, bupivacaine in 32, clonidine in 27 and baclofen in 3. The mean dose of diamorphine increased for the first 2 years but did not change 2–6 years post implant, averaging 4.5 mg/day. Revision surgery was required in 24% of cases, but reduced to 12% in the later years of our experience.
We conclude that spinal drug administration systems appear to be of benefit in alleviating pain in the failed back syndrome and chronic mechanical low back pain but need to be examined prospectively.
Scalene myofascial pain syndrome is a regional pain syndrome wherein pain originates over the neck area and radiates down to the arm. This condition may present as primary or secondary to underlying cervical pathology. Although scalene myofascial pain syndrome is a well known medical entity, it is often misdiagnosed as being some other neck pain associated with radiculopathy, such as cervical disc prolapse, cervical spinal stenosis and thoracic outlet syndrome. Because scalene myofascial pain syndrome mimics cervical radiculopathy, this condition often leads to mismanagement, which can, in turn, result in persistent pain and suffering. In the worst-case scenarios, patients may be subjected to unjustifiable surgical intervention. Because the clinical findings in scalene myofascial pain syndrome are “pathognomonic”, clinicians should be aware of ways to recognize this disorder and be able to differentiate it from other conditions that present with neck pain and rediculopathy. We present two cases of unilateral scalene myofascial pain syndrome that significantly impaired the patients’ functioning and quality of life. This case report serves to create awareness about the existence of the syndrome and to highlight the potential morbidity due to clinical misdiagnosis.
cervical radiculopathy; myofascial pain syndrome; pain radiation; Scalene muscle; trigger point; neurosciences
In the elderly, pain of a widespread nature can often be debilitating. It is not uncommon to attribute this widespread pain to osteoarthritis within the spinal column structures and peripheral joints or to other musculoskeletal etiology. However, chiropractors should remain wary regarding pain experienced by the elderly, especially if pain is widespread and exhibits neuropathic features. Common features of neuropathic pain involve the presence of allodynia, hyperpathia and hyperalgesia. This characteristic widespread pain can sometimes be the sequelae of a central nervous system lesion such as a “Thalamic Pain Syndrome”, or “Central Post-Stroke Pain”, which are terms commonly used to describe pain that originates in the central nervous system.
Following is the case of a 90-year-old patient presenting with widespread pain attributed to Thalamic Pain Syndrome or Central Post-Stroke Pain. Discussion of the characteristics of neuropathic pain and bedside testing techniques are presented to help the chiropractor identify a patient who may be presenting with Central Post-Stroke Pain.
thalamic diseases; cerebrovascular disorders/complications; chiropractic; osteoarthritis; hyperalgesia; neuralgia
Two critical challenges in developing cell-transplantation therapies for injured or diseased tissues are to identify optimal cells and harmful side effects. This is of particular concern in the case of spinal cord injury, where recent studies have shown that transplanted neuroepithelial stem cells can generate pain syndromes.
We have previously shown that astrocytes derived from glial-restricted precursor cells (GRPs) treated with bone morphogenetic protein-4 (BMP-4) can promote robust axon regeneration and functional recovery when transplanted into rat spinal cord injuries. In contrast, we now show that transplantation of GRP-derived astrocytes (GDAs) generated by exposure to the gp130 agonist ciliary neurotrophic factor (GDAsCNTF), the other major signaling pathway involved in astrogenesis, results in failure of axon regeneration and functional recovery. Moreover, transplantation of GDACNTF cells promoted the onset of mechanical allodynia and thermal hyperalgesia at 2 weeks after injury, an effect that persisted through 5 weeks post-injury. Delayed onset of similar neuropathic pain was also caused by transplantation of undifferentiated GRPs. In contrast, rats transplanted with GDAsBMP did not exhibit pain syndromes.
Our results show that not all astrocytes derived from embryonic precursors are equally beneficial for spinal cord repair and they provide the first identification of a differentiated neural cell type that can cause pain syndromes on transplantation into the damaged spinal cord, emphasizing the importance of evaluating the capacity of candidate cells to cause allodynia before initiating clinical trials. They also confirm the particular promise of GDAs treated with bone morphogenetic protein for spinal cord injury repair.
Successful treatment of chronic pain for patients with failed back surgery syndrome can be extremely complicated. These patients require careful and individualized clinical assessment, as they often present with mixed pain syndromes that involve both neuropathic and nociceptive components. The distinct types of pain involved in such cases may require combined treatments from individual interventions that are analgesically independent and specific for each type of pain involved. Neuromodulation by electric stimulation at appropriately chosen targets and combinations may be an important option to consider for such patients. We present a case of combined debilitating axial nociceptive spinal pain and bilateral neuropathic leg pain in a patient after 14 failed back operations. A combination of spinal cord stimulation (SCS) and deep brain stimulation in the periventricular gray (PVG) have successfully provided the patient with complete relief of both components of his chronic pain condition, after all other pain management options had been exhausted. By alternating activation of each implanted stimulator separately and in conjunction, we were able to demonstrate a clinically independent analgesic character for each stimulation system, each specific to a particular type of pain. The SCS provided complete relief of the neuropathic pain component, without affecting the nociceptive component at all. The PVG stimulation provided complete relief of the nociceptive component, without affecting the neuropathic component at all. In combination, there was complete relief of the total chronic pain condition. There appeared to be no overlapping or synergistic effect between the two neuromodulation systems in the patient. The patient has had prolonged complete relief from his chronic pain condition with the combined neuromodulation intervention over 22 years of follow-up.
Chronic pain; deep brain stimulation; failed back surgery syndrome; periventricular gray; spinal cord stimulation
Anterior spinal artery syndrome is an extremely rare cause of acute ischemic cord infarction in children. It is caused by hypoperfusion of the anterior spinal artery, leading to ischemia in the anterior two thirds of the spinal cord. The presentation is usually with an acute and painful myelopathy with impaired bladder and bowel control. Pain and temperature sensation below the lesion are lost, whereas vibration and position sense is intact because of the preservation of the posterior columns.
A 16-year-old girl with Down syndrome presented with urinary retention and acute complete flaccid paralysis of the legs with absent deep tendon and abdominal reflexes. Magnetic resonance imaging showed a signal abnormality in the anterior half of the thoracic cord from T5 to T12, consistent with anterior spinal artery infarction.
Pediatricians should consider anterior spinal artery syndrome in the child who presents with acute, painful myelopathy. We summarize the etiology, neurological findings and outcomes of 19 children found in the literature with anterior spinal artery syndrome.
Anterior spinal artery syndrome; Myelopathy, acute; Spinal cord infarction; Down syndrome; Rehabilitation; Paralysis; Spasticity
To discuss the case of a patient whose lumbar disc derangement syndrome resolved after treatment that included McKenzie diagnosis and therapy, spinal mobilization, and spinal manipulation. Also, to give an overview of the McKenzie method in general, and more specifically for evaluation and management of derangement syndrome.
The patient reported acute onset of left-sided low back pain and superior buttock pain while bending to tie her shoes. The most significant finding on initial McKenzie evaluation was that repetitive patient-generated left-side gliding movements greatly increased lumbar range of motion and decreased the buttock and low back pain, with the pain remaining better after completion of the movements.
Intervention and Outcome
The case was initially managed with instructions in patient-generated lateral side-gliding movements and spinal mobilization. After 5 treatment visits, the management was changed to patient-generated repetitive extension movements and spinal manipulation. The outcome was complete resolution as per Oswestry Low Back Pain and Disability Index and Visual Analog Scale, and complete resolution of symptoms except for mild pain with sitting over 2 hours.
This case demonstrated short-term resolution of acute low back pain and buttock pain with patient-generated forces, spinal mobilization and manipulation, and interferential electrical stimulation. McKenzie mechanical diagnosis and therapy may be a beneficial tool in the chiropractic practice.
Intervertebral Disc; Chiropractic Manipulation; Physical Therapy/Exercise Therapy
Chronic pain arising from various pathological conditions such as osteoarthritis, low back or spinal injuries, cancer, and urological chronic pelvic pain syndromes presents significant challenges in diagnosis and treatment. Specifically, since the underlying cause of these pain syndromes is unknown or heterogeneous, physicians diagnose and treat patients based on the symptoms presented. Nerve growth factor (NGF) has been recognized as an important mediator of chronic pain in many pathological conditions, and has been shown to be upregulated in a subset of individuals suffering from such pain syndromes. These findings have led to the development of anti-NGF monoclonal antibodies such as tanezumab as potentially effective therapeutics for chronic pain. Although tanezumab has reached Phase II and III clinical trials, the trials of anti-NGF antibodies were halted due to safety concerns. Some of these trials of anti-NGF treatment have had statistically significant decreases in pain, while others have yielded inconclusive results. These findings are suggestive of, though do not prove, target (NGF) neutralization in chronic pain syndromes. A biomarker-driven anti-NGF clinical study layout is proposed that incorporates NGF measurements in the relevant samples before and after treatment, in addition to collecting the pain scores. This approach might not only confirm the mechanism of tanezumab’s action in these chronic pain patients, but should establish NGF levels as a predictive biomarker for patients who can benefit from anti-NGF treatment, thereby creating a personalized approach to pain treatment.
nerve growth factor; chronic pain; anti-NGF antibodies; neurotrophic factor; nociceptor neurons
The spinal cord is a target for many neurosurgical procedures used to treat chronic severe pain. Neuromodulation and neuroablation are surgical techniques based on well-known specific anatomical structures. However, anatomical and electrophysical changes related to the tethered spinal cord make it more difficult to use these procedures.
We report the case of a 37-year-old Caucasian woman who had several surgical interventions for tethered cord syndrome. These interventions resulted in severe neuropathic pain in her lower back and right leg. This pain was treated by spinal cord stimulation using intra-operative sensory mapping, which allowed the cord's optimal placement in a more caudal position.
The low-voltage and more caudally placed electrodes are specific features of this treatment of tethered cord syndrome.
Brown-Sequard syndrome may be the result of penetrating injury to the spine, but many other etiologies have been described. This syndrome is most commonly seen with spinal trauma and extramedullary spinal neoplasm. A herniated cervical disc has been rarely reported as a cause of this syndrome. We present a case of a 28-year-old male patient diagnosed as large C3-C4 disc herniation with spinal cord compression. He presented with left hemiparesis and diminished sensation to pain and temperature in the right side below the C4 dermatome. Microdiscectomy and anterior cervical fusion with carbon fiber cage containing a core of granulated coralline hydroxyapatite was performed. After the surgery, rapid improvement of the neurologic deficits was noticed. We present a case of cervical disc herniation producing acute Brown-Sequard syndrome with review of pertinent literature.
Brown-Sequard syndrome; Cervical disc herniation; Microdiscectomy; Anterior cervical fusion
Brown-Sequard syndrome is commonly seen in the setting of spinal trauma or an extramedullary spinal neoplasm. The clinical picture reflects hemisection of the spinal cord. We report a rare case of Brown-Sequard syndrome caused by a large cervical herniated disc. A 63-year-old man presented with progressive right hemiparesis and disruption of pain and temperature sensation on the left side of the body. Magnetic resonance imaging showed large C3-C4 disc herniation compressing the spinal cord at that level, with severe canal stenosis from C4 through C7. Decompressive cervical laminoplasty was performed. After surgery, complete sensory function was restored and a marked improvement in motor power was obtained.
Brown-Sequard syndrome; cervical disc herniation; decompressive cervical lamminoplasty
Brown-Sequard syndrome is an incomplete spinal cord lesion characterized by ipsilateral loss of motor function and contralateral loss of pain and temperature sensitivity, reflecting a hemi-compression or hemi-section of the spinal cord. Cervical disc herniation is an exceptional cause of this syndrome.
Material and methods
We report a case of cervical disc herniation causing Brown-Sequard syndrome in a patient with an unusually rapid neurological deterioration associated to cervical extension, which was documented by neuromonitoring.
A prompt diagnosis, followed by spinal cord decompression should be warranted. Intraoperative neuromonitoring is a useful tool in preservation of neurologic function in these cases.
Brown-Sequard syndrome; Cervical disc herniation; Motor-evoked potentials; Neuromonitoring
Spinal pain is a common problem, and disability related to spinal pain has great consequence in terms of human suffering, medical costs and costs to society. The traditional approach to the non-surgical management of patients with spinal pain, as well as to research in spinal pain, has been such that the type of treatment any given patient receives is determined more by what type of practitioner he or she sees, rather than by diagnosis. Furthermore, determination of treatment depends more on the type of practitioner than by the needs of the patient. Much needed is an approach to clinical management and research that allows clinicians to base treatment decisions on a reliable and valid diagnostic strategy leading to treatment choices that result in demonstrable outcomes in terms of pain relief and functional improvement. The challenges of diagnosis in patients with spinal pain, however, are that spinal pain is often multifactorial, the factors involved are wide ranging, and for most of these factors there exist no definitive objective tests.
The theoretical model of a diagnosis-based clinical decision rule has been developed that may provide clinicians with an approach to non-surgical spine pain patients that allows for specific treatment decisions based on a specific diagnosis. This is not a classification scheme, but a thought process that attempts to identify most important features present in each individual patient. Presented here is a description of the proposed approach, in which reliable and valid assessment procedures are used to arrive at a working diagnosis which considers the disparate factors contributing to spinal pain. Treatment decisions are based on the diagnosis and the outcome of treatment can be measured.
In this paper, the theoretical model of a proposed diagnosis-based clinical decision rule is presented. In a subsequent manuscript, the current evidence for the approach will be systematically reviewed, and we will present a research strategy required to fill in the gaps in the current evidence, as well as to investigate the decision rule as a whole.
Guillain-Barré syndrome (GBS) is an acute inflammatory demyelinating polyneuropathy. In typical cases, the first symptoms of GBS are pain, numbness, paresthesia, weakness in the limbs. Autonomic involvement is common and causes urinary retention and ileus. Much of these symptoms overlap with those of lumbar spinal stenosis. Therefore, correct diagnosis of GBS in a patient with symptomatic lumbar spinal stenosis or in a patient with atypical manifestations of GBS can be difficult, especially early in the course of GBS. Here, we report on a case of atypical GBS in a 74-year-old previously healthy patient with lumbar spinal stenosis and discuss the differential diagnosis of the GBS and lumbar spinal stenosis.
Guillain-Barre syndrome; Spinal stenosis; Polyradiculopathy
Anesthetic management of laboring parturients with Arnold-Chiari type I malformation poses a difficult challenge for the anesthesiologist. The increase in intracranial pressure during uterine contractions, coughing, valsalva maneuvers, and expulsion of the fetus can be detrimental to the mother during the process of labor and delivery. No concrete evidence has implicated high cerebral spinal fluid pressure on maternal and fetal complications. The literature on the use of neuraxial techniques for managing parturients with Arnold-Chiari is extremely scarce. While most anesthesiologists advocate epidural analgesia for management of labor pain and spinal anesthesia for cesarean section, we are the first to report the use of combined spinal-epidural analgesia for managing labor pain in a pregnant woman with Arnold-Chiari type I malformation. Also, we have reviewed the literature and presented information from case reports and case series to support the safe usage of neuraxial techniques in these patients.
Sacroiliac (SI) joint pain is a challenging condition to manage as it can mimic discogenic or radicular low back pain, and present as low back, hip, groin and/or buttock pain. Patients may present with a combination of lumbar spine and SI joint symptoms, further complicating the diagnosis and treatment algorithm [1-3]. SI joint pain after lumbar spinal fusion has been reported in the literature. Both clinical and biomechanical studies show the SI joint to be susceptible to increased motion and stress at the articular surface with up to 40-75% of patients developing significant SI joint degeneration after 5 years.
In a recent case series study of 50 patients who underwent minimally invasive SI joint arthrodesis, 50% had undergone previous lumbar spinal fusion and 18% had symptomatic lumbar spine pathology treated conservatively .
The purpose of this study is to determine if history of previous lumbar fusion or lumbar pathology affects patient outcomes after MIS SI joint fusion surgery.
We report on 40 patients with 24 month follow up treated with MIS SI joint fusion using a series of triangular porous plasma coated titanium implants (iFuse, SI-Bone, Inc. San Jose, CA). Outcomes using a numerical rating scale (NRS) for pain were obtained at 3-, 6-, 12- and 24 month follow up intervals. Additionally, patient satisfaction was collected at the latest follow up interval. Patients were separated into 3 cohorts: 1) underwent prior lumbar spine fusion (PF), 2) no history of previous lumbar spine fusion (NF), 3) no history of previous lumbar spine fusion with symptomatic lumbar spine pathology treated conservatively (LP). A repeated measures analysis of variance (rANOVA) was used to determine if the change in NRS pain scores differed across timepoints and subgroups. A decrease in NRS by 2 points was deemed clinically significant .
Mean age was 54 (±13) years and varied slightly but not statistically between groups. All subgroups experienced a clinically and statistically significant reduction in pain at all time points (mean change >2 points, p<0.001). There was a statistically significant effect of cohort (p=0.045), with the NF cohort (no prior lumbar spinal fusion) having a somewhat greater decrease in pain (by approximately 1 point) compared to the other 2 groups (PF and LP).Patient reported satisfaction by cohort was: 89% (NF), 92% (PF) and 63% (LP).Overall satisfaction rate was 87%.
Discussion and Conclusion:
Patients with SI joint pain, regardless of prior lumbar spine fusion history, show significant improvement in pain after minimally invasive SI joint fusion. The presence of symptomatic lumbar spine pathology potentially confounds the treatment affect, as patients may not be able to discriminate between symptoms arising from the SI joint and the lumbar spine. These patients expressed a lower satisfaction with surgery. Patients without other confounding lumbar spine pathology and who have not undergone previous spine surgery tend to be younger and experience a greater reduction in pain.
Sacroiliac (SI) joint; lumbar fusion; minimally invasive surgery; MIS arthrodesis.
The authors present two cases of synovitis, acne, pustulosis, hyperostosis, osteitis (SAPHO) syndrome with rapidly progressing destructive spondylitis treated surgically. The spinal lesions in SAPHO syndrome generally have a good prognosis and rarely cause the structural destruction or neurological deterioration. Case 1: a 63-year-old female had palmoplantar pustulosis for 2 years. At first, she only felt a pain in the nape with no inducing factor. Two months later, she had incomplete quadriplegia (ASIA scale C). Magnetic resonance imaging showed destruction of C4–C7, kyphotic deformity, and severe compression of the spinal cord. Decompression and reconstruction surgery using anterior and posterior approach improved her paralysis. Case 2: a 69-year-old female complained of persistent back pain. Magnetic resonance imaging revealed spondylitis of T7–T9. Although there were no typical skin lesions, we diagnosed SAPHO syndrome by hyperostosis of the sternocostoclavicular joint and sacral joint. Destruction with kyphotic deformity of the spine progressed gradually for 3 months. Curettage and reconstruction surgery using thoracic endoscope relieved her pain and prevented the destruction of the spine. The histopathology of the specimen obtained surgically showed non-specific inflammation in both cases. Spondylitis in SAPHO syndrome may cause severe destruction and kyphotic deformity followed by paralysis.
SAPHO syndrome; Spondylitis; Paralysis
The surgical management of lumbar synovial cysts that have extruded into the spinal canal remains controversial (e.g. decompression with/without fusion).
The neurological presentation, anatomy, pathophysiology, and surgical challenges posed by synovial cysts in the lumbar spine are well known. Neurological complaints typically include unilateral or, more rarely, bilateral radicular complaints, and/or cauda equina syndromes. Anatomically, synovial cysts constitute cystic dilatations of synovial sheaths that directly extrude from facet joints into the spinal canal. Pathophysiologically, these cysts reflect disruption of the facet joints often with accompanying instability, and potentially compromise both the cephalad and caudad nerve roots.
Aspiration of lumbar synovial cysts, which are typically gelatinous and non-aspirable, and typically performed by “pain specialists” (e.g. pain management, rehabilitation, radiologists, others) utilizing fluoroscopy or CT-guided aspiration, is associated with 50–100% failure rates. Surgical decompression with/without fusion (as the issue regarding fusion remains unsettled) results in the resolution of back and radicular pain in 91.6–92.5% and 91.1–91.9% of cases, respectively.
After a thorough review of the literature, it appears that the treatment with the best outcome for patients with synovial cysts is cyst removal utilizing surgical decompression; the need for attendant fusion remains unsettled. The use of an alternative treatment, percutaneous aspiration of cysts, appears to have a much higher recurrence and failure rate, but may be followed by surgery if warranted.
Decompression; extruded lumbar synovial cysts; failed aspiration; failed techniques; fusion
Unraveling the mechanisms of pain in chronic pancreatitis (CP) remains a true challenge. The rapid development of pancreatic surgery in the twentieth century, usage of advanced molecular biological techniques, and emergence of clinician-scientists have enabled the elucidation of several mechanisms that lead to the chronic, complicated neuropathic pain syndrome in CP. However, the proper analysis of pain in CP should include three main arms of mechanisms: “peripheral nociception,” “peripheral/pancreatic neuropathy and neuroplasticity,” and “central neuropathy and neuroplasticity.”
According to our current knowledge, pain in CP involves sustained sensitization of pancreatic peripheral nociceptors by neurotransmitters and neurotrophic factors following neural damage. This peripheral pancreatic neuropathy leads to intrapancreatic neuroplastic alterations that involve a profound switch in the autonomic innervation of the human pancreas via “neural remodeling.” Furthermore, this neuropathy entails a hyperexcitability of spinal sensory second-order neurons, which are subject to modulation from the brainstem via descending facilitation. Finally, viscerosensory cortical areas react to this central sensitization via spatial reorganization and thus a central neuroplasticity. The present review summarizes the current findings in these arms of mechanisms and introduces a novel concept to consistently describe pain in CP as a “predominantly neuropathic,” “mixed-type” pain.
Chronic pancreatitis; Pain; Peripheral pancreatic neuropathy; Neural remodeling; Sensitization; Temporal summation; EEG; Spinal hyperactivity
Complex regional pain syndrome (CRPS) is a painful and disabling disorder that can affect one or more extremities. Unfortunately, the knowledge concerning its natural history and mechanism is very limited and many current rationales in treatment of CRPS are mainly dependent on efficacy originated in other common conditions of neuropathic pain. Therefore, in this study, we present a case using a total spinal block (TSB) for the refractory pain management of a 16-year-old male CRPS patient, who suffered from constant stabbing and squeezing pain, with severe touch allodynia in the left upper extremity following an operation of chondroblastoma. After the TSB, the patient's continuous and spontaneous pain became mild and the allodynia disappeared and maintained decreased for 1 month.
complex regional pain syndrome; total spinal block
Spinal cord stimulation (SCS) has become an established clinical option for treatment of refractory chronic pain. Current hardware and implantation techniques for SCS are already highly developed and continuously improving; however, equipment failures over the course of long-term treatment are still encountered in a relatively high proportion of the cases treated with it. Percutaneous SCS leads seem to be particularly prone to dislocation and insulation failures. We describe our experience of lead breakage in the inserted spinal cord stimulator to a complex regional pain syndrome patient who obtained satisfactory pain relief after the revision of SCS.
complication; lead breakage; spinal cord stimulation