(HealthDay News) – Intra-articular injection of steroids is slightly better than intramuscular injection for the treatment of facet joint syndrome, although both are effective, according to a study published in the Nov. 1 issue of Spine.

Luiza Helena Ribeiro, MD, from Universidade Federal de São Paulo in Brazil, and colleagues randomized 60 patients with facet joint syndrome to receive either intra-articular injection of six lumbar facet joints with triamcinolone hexacetonide or intramuscular injection with triamcinolone acetonide of six lumbar paravertebral points (control). The groups were followed for 24 weeks after injection.

The researchers found that at baseline the groups were similar. In analysis of variance analysis used to assess differences in the groups over time, improvement was noted in the experimental group regarding diclofenac intake and quality of life for the “role physical” profile, as assessed by 36-Item Short Form Health Survey. In analysis at each time point, improvements were noted in the Roland-Morris questionnaire, in the improvement percentage scale, and in the response to treatment in the experimental group.

“Both treatments were effective, with a slight superiority of the intra-articular injection of steroids over intramuscular injection,” the authors conclude.

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