Indian Journal of Palliative Care
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Year : 2016  |  Volume : 22  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 85--93

A new perspective of neuromyopathy to explain intractable pancreatic cancer pains; Dry needling as an effective adjunct to neurolytic blocks

Department of Interventional Pain Medicine, Ashirvad Institute for Pain Management and Research, Mumbai, Maharashtra, India

Correspondence Address:
Lakshmi Vas
Department of Interventional Pain Medicine, Ashirvad Institute for Pain Management and Research, Mumbai, Maharashtra
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0973-1075.173957

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We present a new perspective of neuromyopathy in pancreatic cancer pain (PCP) referral to bodywall; proposal of new rationale to include ultrasound guided dry needling (USGDN) of body wall muscles as an effective adjunct to neurolytic coeliac plexus block (NCPB) or splanchnic nerve radiofrequency ablation (SRF) for comprehensive interventional management. Methods: PCP response to SRF in 2 patients and NCPB in 3 patients was documented on numerical rating scale (NRS) on post procedure days 3 and 15. If the residual pain was >5 NRS on day 15, USGDN of abdominal and back muscles was started on a thrice weekly basis. The response to USGDN documented on day 30 after approximately 6 sessions of DN, showed a significant pain reduction (0-2 NRS) with 50% reduction of pre-treatment opioid consumption. This was sustained at 6 months or till their demise. Convergence of visceral and somatic nerves at the dorsal horn (viscerosomatic neurons) causes referral of visceral pain to the back and abdominal muscles. This leads to formation of myofascial trigger points (MTrPs) in the muscles which sets up a parallel network of sensitized peripheral and central motor nociceptive processing (neuromyopathy). USGDN specifically addressed the MTrPs that develop as an epiphenomenon of self-perpetuating neuromyopathy while SRF/NCPB, analgesics and neuromodulators could address only visceral nociceptive afferents (pain mediated through celiac plexus) which forms a meagre 10% of the total spinal cord afferent input. Thus, we conclude that combination of neuromyopathy and viscerosomatic convergence in PCP indicate a specific role for DN as an adjunct to SRF/NCPB in our patients


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