Southern African Journal of Anaesthesia and Analgesia

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Transforaminal epidural steroid injections for the treatment of lumbosacral radicular pain in a Nigeria tertiary hospital: observational study

Z.A. Suleiman, I.K. Kolawole, B.A. Ahmed, O.M. Babalola, G.H. Ibraheem


Background: Lumbosacral radicular pain is a common cause of chronic low back pain. Despite published reports of effectiveness of transforaminal epidural steroid for lumbosacral radicular pain, it is underutilised in many tertiary hospitals in sub-Saharan Africa. This study assessed the clinical effects of transforaminal epidural steroid injections in patients with lumbosacral radicular pain at a major tertiary health facility in Nigeria.

Methods: This is a prospective observational study carried out between March 2012 and February 2016. Under fluoroscopy, the epidural space was accessed through the neuroforamen using 22G spinal needles in 47 adult patients with lumbosacral radicular pain; and a mixture of 10 mg triamcinolone acetonide and 0.25% plain bupivacaine (2 mLs per level) was injected. Pain intensity and functional impairment were assessed with the Numeric Pain Rating Scale (NPRS) and the Oswestry Disability Index (ODI) scores respectively at three and six months.

Results: The pain and ODI scores at baseline and at six months’ follow-up improved significantly; 8.49 ± 1.28 vs. 3.6 ± 1.5 (p = 0.002) and 45.1 ± 11.5 vs. 32.4 ± 11.5 (p = 0.001) respectively.

Conclusion: Transforaminal epidural steroid injections provided significant pain relief and improved function in patients with lumbar radicular pain due to intervertebral disc herniations.

Keywords: herniated intervertebral disc, lumbosacral radicular pain, Nigeria, pain relief, transforaminal epidural steroid injection

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