Most of the "big hitting" pain control treatments, such as steroid injections, are useless, a new study has found.
Singled out for special mention were the steroids injected in or around the shoulder joint for shoulder pain and intravenous regional sympathetic blockades.
Instead, more research should be carried out on transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS), relaxation and spinal cord stimulation to ease chronic pain.
The study, carried out by the UK government's Health Technology Assess ment unit, found that minor analgesics, anticonvulsant drugs, antidepressants and local anesthetic type drugs were more successful at controlling pain.
The non steroidal anti inflammatory (NSAID) creams applied to the skin were effective in controlling rheumatological pain, while back pain and sciatica were helped by epidural corticosteroids.
The findings were based on 1500 studies into pain control (BMJ, 1997; 315: 274).