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Use of injections for chronic pain from 2010 to 2019 in Ontario, Canada


Purpose — The management of chronic pain often involves interventional procedures such as injections. Nevertheless, there have been concerns raised regarding the frequency with which these injections are being performed. We conducted a descriptive study to examine trends in the use of pain injections over a ten-year time period in Ontario, Canada.

Methods — We used provincial administrative data to conduct a retrospective observational study of the most common pain injections performed from 2010 to 2019 in Ontario. We determined the frequency of pain injections and their associated physician billings from physician billing data.

Results — A total of 18,050,058 pain injections were included in this study with an associated total cost of CAD 865,431,605. There was a threefold increase in the number of blocks performed annually and associated costs, rising from 1,009,324 blocks (CAD 50,026,678) in 2010 to 3,198,679 blocks (CAD 156,809,081) in 2019. The majority of injections were performed by general practioners (70.8%), followed by anesthesiologists (8.3%).

Conclusion — This descriptive study revealed a rapid increase in the frequency of pain injections performed in Ontario from 2010 to 2019. Given the associated costs and potential risks, this warrants further investigation to ensure that these interventions are being administered appropriately.



Ladha KS, Kitchen S, Miles S, Clarke H, Gomes T. Can J Anaesth. 2023; 70(1):100-5. Epub 2022 Nov 30.

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