The Value of Invasive Procedures for Chronic Knee, Back Pain Is Questionable
A new meta-analysis shows little evidence to support use of invasive interventional procedures for chronic knee and low back pain — although the analysis has several limitations that preclude firm conclusions, researchers say.
In 2014, Americans spent an estimated $45 billion on surgery for chronic low back pain and $41 billion for arthroplasty for chronic knee pain.
“Opioid use is a problem. We need nonpharmacological approaches to pain; but there is very little research out there that is rigorous on interventional procedures for chronic pain, despite the fact that they are used a lot,” lead author Wayne Jonas, MD, from Georgetown University, Washington, DC, and executive director of Samueli Integrative Health Programs, told Medscape Medical News.
“Even more surprising, when we were able to find adequate research to really do a meta-analysis for the two most common pain conditions, low back pain and knee pain, the effects of the placebo made up the vast majority of the effect,” said Jonas.