Experts are now discovering that epidural spinal injections do not offer any long-term benefits to suffering patients.
According to data, lower back pain is a top common clinical condition. Within that condition are radiculopathy and spinal stenosis, which are two very difficult-to-treat causes of chronic back pain, according to NYC Today.
Doctors agree that lower back pain usually improves on its own over time with little to no treatment. But at the same time, most patients want relief sooner. But still they find that the beneficial effects of injections are short-lived. When they gathered data from patients that had pain relief for radiculopathy from injections versus a placebo, the results were small.
“It’s important for them to understand that benefits appear to be short-lived and to weigh these short-term benefits against potential complications of the injections, such as infection and nerve injury”.
Even though many studies have proven spinal injections to be beneficial, a large number of the studies also have concluded that an injection of steroids does not address the underlying cause of pain. As most pain relievers, it focuses on masking the pain from the cause, not intended to treat the cause of pain itself.
Researchers also found that in long-term studies, the effects of placebo and spinal injections were very similar and that the need for surgery was the same across the board. Also, they found no significant difference in pain or functional improvement between the two groups.
For a lot of patients, doctors have found that the best treatment for spinal stenosis is surgery.
“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.