Current Issue - August 2022 - Vol 25 Issue 5


  1. 2022;25;355-363Review of Interventional Treatments for Cluneal Neuropathy
    Narrative Review
    Benjamin Gill, DO, David S. Cheng, MD, Patrick Buchanan, MD, and David W. Lee, MD.

BACKGROUND: The most common presentation of cluneal neuropathy is ipsilateral low back and gluteal pain. Cluneal neuralgia has been described historically in surgical contexts, with much of the description and treatment related to entrapment and decompression, respectively. Treatment options for addressing axial low back pain have evolved with advancements in the field of interventional pain medicine, though clinical results remain inconsistent. Recent attention has turned toward peripheral nerve stimulation. Nonsurgical interventions targeting the superior and medial cluneal nerve branches have been performed in cases of low back and buttock pain, but there is no known review of the resulting evidence to support these practices.

OBJECTIVES: In this manuscript we provide a robust exploration and analysis of the available literature regarding treatment options for cluneal neuropathy. We provide clinical manifestations and recommendations for future study direction.

STUDY DESIGN: Narrative review.

METHODS: This was a systematic, evidence-based narrative, performed after extensive review of the literature to identify all manuscripts associated with interventional treatment of the superior and medial cluneal nerves.

RESULTS: Eleven manuscripts fulfilled inclusion criteria. Interventional treatment of the superior and middle cluneal nerves includes blockade with corticosteroid, alcohol neurolysis, peripheral nerve stimulation, radiofrequency neurotomy, and surgical decompression.

LIMITATIONS: The supportive evidence for interventions in cluneal neuropathy is largely lacking due to small, uncontrolled, observational studies with multiple confounding factors. There is no standardized definition of cluneal neuropathy.

CONCLUSION: Limited studies promote beneficial effects from interventions intended to target cluneal neuropathy. Despite increased emphasis and treatment options for this condition, there is little consensus on the diagnostic criteria, endpoints, and measures of therapeutics, or procedural techniques for blocks, radiofrequency, and neuromodulation. It is imperative to delineate pathology associated with the cluneal nerves and perform rigorous analysis of associated treatment options.

KEY WORDS: Cluneal neuropathy, superior cluneal nerves, medial cluneal nerves, peripheral nerve stimulation, low back pain