New York [US], February 15 (ANI) Researchers from Johns Hopkins Medicine and other institutions claim to have created an instant clinical test that can predict those who suffer from neck pain will benefit from epidural steroids, which inject drugs directly into the spinal nerves to lessen nerve swelling and discomfort.

The uncomfortable injections are the most common treatment for neck pain. However, they can run hundreds of dollars are risky and can only help the majority of patients, as per research. A new variation to the physical exam which was published the 15th of February in Mayo Clinic Proceedings for an adult population of 78 suffering from neck pain may help to advise the best treatment option.

“Until the present it was the result of a coin flip that was 50/50 the possibility that an epidural injection of steroid could help a particular neck pain sufferer,” states Steven P. Cohen, M.D. who is a professor of anesthesiology and critically care medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. “We examined a variety of aspects and are confident that we’ve figured out a fast and reliable method of providing patients with more precise personalized information regarding their odds of getting better and increase the chances of success in treatment.”

Based on the American Medical Association, back and neck pain is one of the conditions that account for the largest percentage of healthcare expenditure within the United States. Every year doctors administer over 10 million epidural steroids to treat back and neck discomfort. Injecting steroids can decrease the inflammation and pressure on nerves which cause pain. But the root causes of back neck and back pain can be diverse however, not everyone will receive pain relief from the injections. In the end, the procedure is now under greater scrutiny by hospitals and insurance companies, which is driving a search for ways to pinpoint patients who are most likely to benefit from.

In this study, Cohen and collaborators adapted Waddell signs — which are eight physical signsthat are named for the doctor who came up with them over 50 years ago, to serve as an aid in identifying patients who’s back discomfort is not caused by physical problems that could be treated surgically for neck pain sufferers. The signs, which are examined in a matter of minutes by a physician and include a check for tenderness, overreactions to stimulation with light and weakness that is not caused by a physical condition or injury and pain that goes away in the event of distraction and pain that is beyond the normal areas within the body.

“These physical exam exercises are extremely simple to master and simple to spot,” says Cohen.

For back discomfort, Waddell signs are used mostly to determine if back pain is not organic (not caused by an or anatomic cause). Many clinicians previously considered these signs to be signs of malingering or other psychological causes. In recent times scientists have found that these non-organic signs could indicate more complicated underlying reasons for back pain. The majority of studies have demonstrated that back pain sufferers who have more Waddell symptoms have a lower chance to be benefited from treatment.

In their study, the clinicians from The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Walter Reed National Military Medical Center and The District of Columbia Veterans Affairs Medical Center and Seoul National University, in Korea assessed the necks of 78 patients for the eight physical signs that are nonorganic prior to administering epidural injections of steroid. Overall, 29 percent (23) of patients had no signs that were nonorganic 21 percent (16) showed one nonorganic sign. fifty percent (39) of the patients showed at least two signs prior to the injections.

A month later, patients whose discomfort was still reduced after the epidural steroid injection showed an average of 1.3 nonorganic signs. In contrast, patients whose pain was not diminished at the one month date had, on the in average 3.4 Nonorganic symptoms.

Certain of the Waddell symptoms were strongly associated with the lack of response to injections. For instance 55 percent of non-responders to injections showed signs of hyperreactivity to touch, however only 11 percent of those who were helped by injections displayed this sign. The study also revealed that those who had more symptoms that are not organic related to their neck discomfort were more likely to experience chronic pain in different parts of the body along with fibromyalgia, and mental health issues.

Cohen states there is a possibility that having multiple organic indicators is helping to identify patients who may benefit from alternative treatment options, prior to trying epidural injections of steroid. “But more research should be conducted to find the most effective treatment options.”

In the meantime, Cohen says the findings will immediately guide discussions between neck pain sufferers and their medical professionals when weighing the risks and potential advantages of an epidural steroid injection. (ANI)

This report is generated automatically by the ANI News Service. ThePrint does not take responsibility for the report’s content.