Epidurals are a common steroid injection used in the treatment of low back pain. It is a a non-surgical procedure but there are risks and questions in the outcomes. Being epidurals are on the rise in treatment of back pain in the United States and the UK we are going to take a look at some studies questioning the use of this treatment. A rather small percentage of patients report degrees of pain relief short term but there seems to be little benefit of these injections with several side effects that can be severe.
A study from 2011 looked at the effects of steroid epidurals in treatment of chronic low back pain and radiculopathy.
133 patients with low back pain for more than 12 weeks were split into 3 groups. One group received epidural steroid injections, the second group received saline injections and the final group received placebo injections. The patients were assessed using Oswestry disability index, Visual Analog Scale and European Quality of Life measures at intervals of 6, 12 and 52 weeks to determine the efficacy of the treatments. It was found there is NO Significant differences in the 3 treatments provided. The study concluded: “Caudal epidural steroid or saline injections are not recommended for chronic lumbar radiculopathy.”
Studies like these keep showing how ineffective epidurals are in the treatment of low back pain and sciatica. Not only are the ineffective but there are serious side effects of epidurals: infection, dural puncture and headache, bleeding, nerve damage, increased pain, facial flushing, anxiety, sleeplessness, fever the night of injection, high blood sugar, a transient decrease in immunity because of the suppressive effect of the steroid, stomach ulcers, severe arthritis of the hips (avascular necrosis), cataracts, losing function of the legs and losing bowel or bladder control.
Even though this procedure is non-surgical it is still considered invasive. It is important to first utilize conservative treatments first before considering drugs, injections and surgery. Chiropractic time and time again has the highest outcomes in treatment of low back pain whether it be acute or chronic and in helping relieve sciatica. Chiropractic is natural, addresses the cause of the pain not just the symptoms and is much more cost effective without the dangerous side effects.
Our Freehold Chiropractor, Dr. Russell Brokstein has over 16 years helping patients suffering with lower back pain and sciatica. If you are suffering with back pain or other conditions and live in central NJ, find out more by clicking here.