Erector spinae plane block in chronic pain management: a scoping review

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Chronic pain is reaching epidemic levels. Chronic pain represents a significant burden for patients, healthcare systems, and society, given its impact on quality of life, increased disability, and risk of hospitalization and mortality. Unmet needs of chronic pain management are also significant as only a small percentage of patients respond to medical (drug) therapy. Erector spinae plane block (ESPB) was rapidly adapted in clinical practice and numerous cases have been published assessing its effectiveness, but no systematic review of evidence on ESPB in chronic pain management is available. The purpose of this scoping review is to perform a comprehensive overview of existing evidence on ESPB in chronic pain management. We analyzed cases and case series reporting 43 patients. ESPB was performed in patients with severe pain and in all cases resulted in some degree of pain relief. However, because there was heterogeneity in mechanisms and underlying causes of chronic pain, preprocedural analgesic therapy, and pain assessment in reporting the cases, with the information currently available (case reports) we cannot make a definitive conclusion regarding efficacy and safety of ESPB in chronic pain management. Lack of homogeneity was present in medication use before the procedure, indicating a significant variation in how patients with chronic pain are managed. Variation in clinical practice can indicate the need to improve the quality of care to alleviate the chronic pain burden. Randomized controlled clinical trials are warranted to establish efficacy and safety of ESPB in chronic pain management.

Original languageEnglish
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2021


  • chronic pain
  • Erector spinae plane block
  • regional anesthesia

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oncology
  • Cancer Research


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