Do injections for back pain only offer temporary relief?
While the use of steroid injections on patients continue to increase, it only offers temporary relief, according to a new study published in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine.
Those with herniated disks or spinal stenosis—two issues that affect the lower back— often complain about constant, throbbing pain.
Researchers at Oregon Health & Science University in Portland studied a trend where patients were being treated by steroid injections. They looked at random trials with patients injecting steroids versus those with a placebo intervention and discovered there were no long-term benefits to epidural steroid injections.
“These injections may not be as effective as perceived, and decisions should be based on an informed discussion of risks, benefits, and potential options, including surgery, medications and nonpharmacological options like exercise therapy,” said lead researcher Dr. Roger Chou, a professor of medicine at the Oregon Health & Science University.
Instead, they discovered the injections helped with immediate reduction in pain, but only in small doses and not sustained.
There are many options to healing a bad back, including water therapy and exercise, doctors say.
“Your back is going to feel sore and stiff anytime it cools down,” says Dr. Egwele. “That is often why when you wake up after sleeping, your back hurts the most. I suggest you stretch every morning to loosen up your body and take warm showers when you can.”
He also cautions against quick-fix lower back or spine problems.
“You have to understand that bad back problems didn’t happen overnight and they are not going to go away overnight either,” says Dr. Egwele. “You have to be patient or you will continue to be frustrated by your back issues.”
About 80 percent of adults experience lower back pain at some point in their lifetime, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. It’s also the most common cause of job-related disability and a leading contributor to missed work days.
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