Suprascapular Nerve Block Effectively Treats Shoulder Pain

Suprascapular nerve block with bupivacaine and methylprednisolone acetate is a safe and effective treatment for shoulder pain experienced by patients with degenerative disease and arthritis, say Australian and Irish researchers.

These painful conditions can be difficult to manage, and are also common causes of morbidity, the researchers note, but there have so far been limited trials on the nerve block’s efficacy.

Consequently, the investigators, from the Repatriation Hospital in Daw Park, southern Australia, and Dublin’s St Vincent’s University Hospital, performed a randomised, double- blind, placebo-controlled trial to investigate the potential efficacy of suprascapular nerve block.

A total of 83 patients with chronic shoulder pain or rheumatoid arthritis participated in the study. Each shoulder was randomized separately, say researchers, resulting in 108 shoulders being studied.

A single suprascapular nerve block was administered to those patients in the group who were undergoing active therapy, while the placebo group were given a subcutaneous injection of normal saline. They were then followed up by an independent observer for 12 weeks, and reviewed at weeks 1, 4 and 12 following the injection. During this time data relative to pain, disability and movement were gathered.

The researchers established that those in the active group displayed clinically significant improvement in all pain, disability and some range of movement scores in their shoulders, in comparison to those in the placebo group. In addition, no significant adverse effects were encountered in either group, they concluded.
Annals of Rheumatic Diseases 2003;62:5:400-406.  “Suprascapular nerve block (using bupivacaine and methylprednisolone acetate) in chronic shoulder pain”

Posted by on Jul 18th, 2008 and filed under Back Pain. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response by filling following comment form or trackback to this entry from your site

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