Association of selected inflammatory markers and risk factors with pain in patients undergoing cervical or lumbar disc herniation


  • N D Withanage Senior Lecturer, Dept. of Medical Laboratory Sciences, University of Sri Jayewardenepura
  • Imrana Farook
  • Rajith Priyankara
  • Deepal Attanayake
  • Pathirana Dias
  • Lohini Athiththan




Studies have suggested that radicular pain following disc herniation may be associated with local or systemic inflammatory responses produced in the vicinity of the herniated disc rather than compression of the nerve. Present study assessed the association of serum interleukin-6 (IL-6) levels, high-sensitivity C-reactive protein (hs-CRP) and related risk factors in patients undergoing discectomy following cervical disc herniation (CDH) or lumbar disc herniation (LDH).


Study recruited 77 patients undergoing discectomy for LDH and CDH. An interviewer administered questionnaire was used to obtain sociodemographic, behavioral and occupational data. IL-6 and hs-CRP levels were measured in each individual. IL-6 was analyzed by ELISA method and hs-CRP was determined using auto analyzer. Results were analyzed by using SPSS version 25.0.



Significant correlation was not found with serum IL-6 and hs-CRP levels (r=0.02, p˃0.05) for acute and chronic CDH and LDH. Patients with chronic neck or back pain showed significantly (p=0.043) higher IL-6 level compared to patients with acute neck or back pain. Serum hs-CRP level was significantly higher (p=0.048) in patients with acute neck or back pain compared to patients with chronic neck or back pain. Significant association was not observed between; level of physically demanding nature of occupation (p=0.542), duration of occupation (p=0.446), type of exercise (p=0.371), type of sports (p=0.339) and CDH or LDH.


Though significant correlation was not observed between inflammatory markers IL-6, hs-CRP and CDH or LDH. The mean IL-6 was higher in chronic back pain and neck pain patients with LDH and CDH whereas mean hs-CRP mean was higher in acute back pain and neck pain patients. Significant association was not reported between selected known risk factors (behavioral, occupational) and CDH or LDH.