(HealthDay News) — For patients with chronic low back pain (LBP) with active discopathy, a single glucocorticoid intradiscal injection (GC IDI) is associated with reduced LBP at one month but not 12 months after the intervention, according to a study published online March 21 in the Annals of Internal Medicine.

Christelle Nguyen, MD, PhD, from the Université Paris Descartes, and colleagues examined the efficacy of GC IDI in patients with chronic LBP with active discopathy in a parallel-group randomized trial. One hundred thirty-five patients with chronic LBP with active discopathy on magnetic resonance imaging from 3 tertiary care centers in France were randomized to a single GC IDI during discography (67 patients) or discography alone (68 patients).

The researchers found that percentage of responders (LBP intensity <40 on an 11-point numerical rating scale) was higher in the GC IDI group than the control group at one month after the intervention (55.4% vs 33.3%; absolute risk difference, 22.1 percentage points; P = 0.009). There was no between-group difference in LBP intensity at 12 months; most secondary outcomes did not differ between the groups at one or 12 months.

“In chronic LBP associated with active discopathy, a single GC IDI reduces LBP at one month but not at 12 months,” the authors write.


  1. Nguyen C, Boutron I, Baron G, et al. Intradiscal Glucocorticoid Injection for Patients With Chronic Low Back Pain Associated With Active Discopathy: A Randomized Trial. Ann Intern Med.  21 March 2017. doi: 10.7326/M16-1700