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Are non-surgical treatments effective for low back pain and radiculopathy?
Included studies evaluated target injections or other non-surgical treatments in patients >18 years of age who had low (lumbar or sacral) back pain. Studies reported ⩾1 of the following outcomes: back-specific function, general health status, pain, work disability, and patient satisfaction. Exclusion criteria included pregnancy and low back pain associated with acute major trauma, cancer, infection, cauda equina syndrome, fibromyalgia, spondyloarthropathy, osteoporosis, and vertebral compression fracture.
Medline, Cochrane Central Register of Controlled Trials, and Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews (all to Jul 2008) and reference lists were searched for randomised controlled trials (RCTs) published in English or included in English-language systematic reviews, and English-language systematic reviews published after 1999. Experts were contacted. 97 RCTs, including 75 reported in 26 systematic reviews, met the inclusion criteria.
The main results are in the table.
Source of funding: American Pain Society.