Recent Submissions

  • Effectiveness of intermediate cervical plexus block in whiplash-associated disorder: a prospective observational trial in fifty patients

    Lee, Hayun; Shruti, Niraj; Kukreja, Yuvraj; Niraj, G (2023-07)
    Background: Whiplash trauma can result in a range of symptoms, including chronic neck pain, headache, facial pain, upper back pain, and tinnitus, which comprises whiplash-associated disorder (WAD). Intermediate cervical plexus block (iCPB) is a novel intervention that targets the upper cervical nerves and anecdotal reports suggest benefits in WAD. Objectives: We hypothesized that the cervical plexus may have a role in the pathogenesis of WAD and blocking the cervical plexus may provide analgesia. Study design: Prospective observational trial. Setting: Tertiary pain medicine unit at a university teaching hospital. Methods: Adult patients who presented with refractory chronic neck pain following whiplash were included in a prospective observational trial. The pragmatic trial studied the effectiveness of 2 sequential cervical plexus blocks (iCPB with local anesthetic [iCPB-LA] and iCPB with steroid and LA mixture [iCPB-Steroid]) in refractory chronic neck pain following whiplash. Patients who reported < 50% relief at 12 weeks after iCPB-LA were offered iCPB-Steroid. Primary outcome was "neck pain at its worst in the last 24 hours" at 12 weeks. Secondary outcomes included change in neck disability index, employment status, and mood. Results: After excluding cervical zygapophyseal joint dysfunction, 50 patients underwent the iCPB-LA between June 2020 and August 2022. Five patients reported > 50% relief (durable relief) at 12 weeks and 3 patients were lost to follow-up. Forty-two patients received iCPB-Steroid. iCPB-Steroid was associated with significant reduction in neck pain, neck disability, and improvement in mood at 12 weeks when compared to the block with LA. In addition, iCPB-Steroid was associated with significant reduction in neck pain and disability at 24 weeks. Due to functional improvement, 34 patients (34/50, 78%) were able to maintain employment. Limitations: This is an open-label, observational, single-center study in a limited cohort under a single physician. Cervical facet joint dysfunction was ruled out clinically and radiologically. Conclusions: Cervical plexus may play a central role in the pathogenesis of WAD. iCPB could potentially be a treatment option in this cohort. Keywords: chronic headache; neck pain; trigemino-cervical complex; whiplash; whiplash-associated disorder; Intermediate cervical plexus block. Publication types
  • Interventional pathway in the management of refractory post cholecystectomy pain (PCP) syndrome: a 6-year prospective audit in 60 patients

    Lee, Hayun; Kukreja, Yuvraj; Niraj, G
    Objectives: Post cholecystectomy pain syndrome can affect over a third of patients undergoing laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Acute exacerbations can result in recurrent emergency admission with excessive healthcare utilization. Standard surgical management appears to focus on visceral aetiology. Abdominal myofascial pain syndrome is a poorly recognised somatic pathology that can cause refractory pain in this cohort. It develops as a result of trigger points in the abdominal musculature. The report describes the pathophysiology and a novel interventional pathway in the management of post cholecystectomy pain secondary to abdominal myofascial pain syndrome. Methods: The prospective longitudinal audit was performed at a tertiary pain medicine clinic in a university teaching hospital. Over a six-year period, adult patients with refractory abdominal pain following laparoscopic cholecystectomy were included in a structured interventional management pathway. The pathway included two interventions. Intervention I was a combination of abdominal plane blocks and epigastric port site trigger injection with steroids. Patients who failed to report durable relief (>50% pain relief at 12 weeks) were offered pulsed radiofrequency treatment to the abdominal planes (Intervention II). Outcomes included patient satisfaction, change in opioid consumption and impact on emergency visits. Results: Sixty patients who failed to respond to standard management were offered the pathway. Four patients refused due to needle phobia. Fifty-six patients received Intervention I. Failure rate was 14% (8/56). Forty-eight patients (48/56, 86%) reported significant benefit at 12 weeks while 38 patients reported durable relief at 24 weeks (38/56, 68%). Nine patients received Intervention II and all (100%) reported durable relief. Emergency admissions and opioid consumption were reduced. Conclusions: Abdominal myofascial pain syndrome is a poorly recognised cause of post cholecystectomy pain. The novel interventional management pathway could be an effective solution in patients who fail to benefit from standard management.
  • Prevalence of chronic pain following resection of pelvic bone tumours: A single centre prospective observational survey

    Rana, Meenal (2022-06)
    Background: Hemipelvectomy is a major surgery most often performed for pelvic malignancy. These complex surgeries often involve dissection around major neurovascular bundle and resection of tumour being bone along with involved tissues. This may result in short and long term morbidities. There is very little literature about incidence of chronic pain after pelvic resections. We conducted a prospective study at a tertiary cancer hospital to assess the prevalence of chronic pain post hemipelvectomy. Method: This is a single centre prospective observational study conducted over 30 months. Pain scores were recorded using Brief pain inventory (BPI) and pain detect questionnaire. The quality of life was assessed using musculoskeletal tumour society (MSTS) score. Intra-operative details like extent of surgical resection, nerves spared, details of intra-operative and post-operative analgesia were retrieved from the patient files. Data were analysed using SPSS 21 version. Results: Neuropathic pain post hemipelvectomy was uncommon. The prevalence of mild to moderate somatic pain was around 30%. Functional limitation was minimal as assessed by BPI and MSTS score. A high incidence of numbness was seen to persist in and around the area of surgical incision (50%). Conclusion: This is first study to report the incidence of chronic pain post hemipelvectomy done for pelvic tumour resections. Despite the extensive nature of resection involved, there is a low prevalence of neuropathic pain in this population. However, incidence of persistent somatic pain is high and there is a need for further studies for evaluating the causality.
  • Management and outcomes of persistent headache after accidental dural puncture in the obstetric population: A 9-year prospective audit

    Niraj, G; Critchley, Peter (2023-01-18)
    Objective: To assess the effectiveness and safety of a novel management pathway in the obstetric population presenting to a pain medicine clinic with persistent headache after accidental dural puncture (PHADP). Background: Accidental dural puncture (ADP) can result in headaches that persist for months to years. These headaches can be a therapeutic challenge, often cause severe disability, and management pathway remains obscure. Methods: Obstetric patients with PHADP referred to a pain medicine physician were prospectively followed up in a longitudinal audit of a novel management pathway. ADP reports dated from 2008 until 2019. Initial management included brain imaging and pharmacological agents. Patients who failed to respond were offered greater occipital nerve (GON) block with depot methylprednisolone followed by pulsed radiofrequency (PRF) treatment. A headache diary was completed for 4 weeks prior to commencing treatment and maintained for 24 weeks following an intervention. Data collected included use of epidural blood patch to manage postdural puncture headache, past history of headache, severity of headache, duration of persistent headache, low back pain, and employment status. Results: Over the 9-year period, a cohort of 54 obstetric patients with PHADP with a 16-gauge Tuohy needle were reviewed in the pain clinic. Forty patients presented with chronic daily headache (40/54, 74%). Brain imaging did not reveal any sign of intracranial hypotension in 50 patients (50/54, 93%). Mean follow-up period was 5.7 years. Two patients were lost to follow-up (2/54, 4%). Pharmacological management was effective in 17 patients (17/52, 33%). Medical management failed to improve symptoms in 35 patients (35/52, 67%), and they were offered GON block. Fourteen (14/35, 40%) patients refused the intervention. Nerve block was performed in 21 patients and produced durable benefit lasting 24 weeks in 18 patients (18/21, 86%). Three patients underwent PRF treatment to GONs and all three (100%) reported durable benefit. At final follow-up, mean monthly headache frequency was 5.9 for the medical management group, 8.6 for the refused nerve block group, and 4.1 in patients who received GON treatment (p < 0.001). Conclusion: ADP can cause chronic headaches that persist beyond 3 years. Interventions targeting the GONs appear to have a role in the management of PHADP.