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Anterior herniation of lumbar disc induces persistent visceral pain: discogenic visceral pain: discogenic visceral pain.

Authors

Tang YZ, et al. Show all

Journal

Chin Med J (Engl). 2013;126(24):4691-5.

Affiliation

Abstract

BACKGROUND: Visceral pain is a common cause for seeking medical attention. Afferent fibers innervating viscera project to the central nervous system via sympathetic nerves. The lumbar sympathetic nerve trunk lies in front of the lumbar spine. Thus, it is possible for patients to suffer visceral pain originating from sympathetic nerve irritation induced by anterior herniation of the lumbar disc. This study aimed to evaluate lumbar discogenic visceral pain and its treatment.
METHODS: Twelve consecutive patients with a median age of 56.4 years were enrolled for investigation between June 2012 and December 2012. These patients suffered from long-term abdominal pain unresponsive to current treatment options. Apart from obvious anterior herniation of the lumbar discs and high signal intensity anterior to the herniated disc on magnetic resonance imaging, no significant pathology was noted on gastroscopy, vascular ultrasound, or abdominal computed tomography (CT). To prove that their visceral pain originated from the anteriorly protruding disc, we evaluated whether pain was relieved by sympathetic block at the level of the anteriorly protruding disc. If the block was effective, CT-guided continuous lumbar sympathetic nerve block was finally performed.
RESULTS: All patients were positive for pain relief by sympathetic block. Furthermore, the average Visual Analog Scale of visceral pain significantly improved after treatment in all patients (P < 0.05). Up to 11/12 patients had satisfactory pain relief at 1 week after discharge, 8/12 at 4 weeks, 7/12 at 8 weeks, 6/12 at 12 weeks, and 5/12 at 24 weeks.
CONCLUSIONS: It is important to consider the possibility of discogenic visceral pain secondary to anterior herniation of the lumbar disc when forming a differential diagnosis for seemingly idiopathic abdominal pain. Continuous lumbar sympathetic nerve block is an effective and safe therapy for patients with discogenic visceral pain.

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