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Influence of BMI, gender, and sports on pain decrease and medication usage after facet–medial branch neurotomy or SI joint lateral branch cooled RF-neurotomy in case of low back pain: original research in the Austrian population

Authors Stelzer W, Stelzer V, Stelzer D, Braune M, Duller C

Received 8 September 2016

Accepted for publication 24 November 2016

Published 13 January 2017 Volume 2017:10 Pages 183—190


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single anonymous peer review

Peer reviewer comments 3

Editor who approved publication: Dr Michael Schatman

Wolfgang Stelzer,1 Valentin Stelzer,1 Dominik Stelzer,1 Monika Braune,1 Christine Duller2

1Medizinisches Zentrum SchmerzLOS Linz and Baden/Vienna, Vienna, 2Johannes Kepler University Linz, Linz, Austria

Purpose: This retrospective original research was designed to illustrate the general outcome after radiofrequency (RF) neurotomy of lumbar medial branch (MB) and posterior ramus of the sacroiliac joint of 160 patients with chronic low back pain (LBP) 1, 6, and 12 months after treatment.
Methods: Visual Analog Scale (VAS) 0–10 pain scores, quality of life, body mass index (BMI), medication usage, and frequency of physical exercise/sports participation (none, 1–3×/week, more) were collected before the procedure, at 1 month post procedure (n=160), and again at 6 (n=73) and 12 months (n=89) post procedure.
Results: A VAS decrease of 4 points on a 10-point scale (from 8 to 4) in the overall group was seen after 6 months and of 4.5 after 12 months. Lower medication usage was reported, with opioids decreased by 40% and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) by 60%. Decreased pain lasted for 12 months. Significantly better outcomes were reported by patients with BMIs <30. No gender-specific differences occurred in the reported decrease in VAS. Analysis of the “no-sports” group versus the more active (1–3 times weekly sports) group showed a better pain decrease after 1 year in the active group.
Conclusion: The data suggest RF treatment for chronic LBP that can lead to long-term improvement. Patients with a BMI >30 are less likely to report decreased pain. The better long-term pain relief in the sports participating group is a motivation for the authors to keep the patients in motion.

Keywords: radiofrequency, low back pain, BMI, sacroiliac joint, gender, sports, cooled RF neurotomy

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