Medicinal and Injection therapies for mechanical neck disorders
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BACKGROUND: Medicinal therapies and injections are commonly recommended for neck pain, yet controversy persists over their effectiveness. OBJECTIVES: To determine the effect of medicines and injections on pain, function/disability, patient satisfaction and range of motion in participants with mechanical neck disorders (MND). SEARCH STRATEGY: We searched CENTRAL (Issue 4, 2002), and MEDLINE, EMBASE, MANTIS, CINHAL from their start to March 2003. We scrutinized reference lists for other trials. SELECTION CRITERIA: We included randomized controlled trials with adults with MND, with or without associated headache or radicular findings. We considered medicinal and injection therapies, regardless of route of administration. DATA COLLECTION AND ANALYSIS: Two authors independently selected articles, abstracted data and assessed methodological quality using the Jadad criteria. Consensus was used to resolve disagreements. When clinical heterogeneity was absent, we combined studies using random-effects meta-analysis models. MAIN RESULTS: We found 32 trials that examined the effects of oral NSAIDs, psychotropic agents, injections of steroids, and anaesthetic agents. Overall, methodological quality had a mean of 3.2/5 on the Jadad Scale. For acute whiplash, administering intravenous methylprednisolone within eight hours reduced pain at one week, and sick leave but not pain at six months compared to placebo. For chronic MND at short-term follow-up, intramuscular injection of lidocaine was superior to placebo or dry needling, but similar to ultrasound. In chronic MND with radicular findings, epidural methylprednisolone and lidocaine reduced neck pain and improved function at one-year follow-up compared to the intramuscular route. In subacute/chronic MND, we found conflicting evidence of pain reduction for oral psychotropic agents compared to placebo or control. Single trials of eperison hydrochloride and tetrazepam showed positive results. Results for cyclobenzaprine were mixed. Diazepam did not show benefit. Other treatments including NSAIDS and nerve blocks had unclear or limited evidence of benefit. In participants with chronic MND with or without radicular findings or headache, there was moderate evidence from five high quality trials showing that Botox A intramuscular injections were not better than saline in improving pain (pooled SMD: -0.39 (95%CI: -1.25 to 0.47), disability or global perceived effect. AUTHORS' CONCLUSIONS: Intra-muscular injection of lidocaine for chronic MND and intravenous injection of methylprednisolone for acute whiplash were effective treatments. There was limited evidence of effectiveness of epidural injection of methylprednisolone and lidocaine for chronic MND with radicular findings. Oral psychotropic agents had mixed results. There was moderate evidence that Botox A intramuscular injections for chronic MND were no better than saline. Other medications, including NSAIDs, had contradictory or limited evidence of effectiveness.
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