Numerous people suffer from serious back pain problems in the United States. Steroid shots have been a common treatment plan for people suffering from back pain. But The New York Times reports that back pain victims may have other options according to a new study.
The New York Times writes, “Injecting steroids into the area around the spinal cord (epidural) is the most commonly used treatment for back pain, but a new review of studies suggests that injecting any liquid, even plain saline solution, works just as well.” Researchers came to this conclusion after analyzing 3,600 back pain patients.
Scientists used forty-three different studies. The studies reflected cases of patients who were administered many types of injections for serious back pain. “As they expected, they found evidence that epidural steroid injections provided more relief than steroid injections into the muscles,” according to The New York Times.
The research showed that any liquid injected could aid in the reduction of inflammation. It can also help make blood flow to the nerves and clean out any scar tissue found. One doctor, who authored the study, told The Times, “Epidural steroid injections may provide relief for up to two months in people with back pain due to nerve inflammation.” But then he delved into the side effects of steroids.
One of the major benefits of utilizing something other than steroids would be the fact that back pain patients can then avoid the many side effects of steroids. “Steroids have side effects, and most of the short-term benefits seem to be not from steroids, but from the local anesthetic and saline, which may ‘calm’ inflamed nerves that send pain signals. Doctors should consider significantly reducing the steroid dose, or even not using steroids in patients who are at high risk,” according to the authors of the study.