Steroid Shots Offer No Long-Term Relief for Low-Back Pain

Research has shown that patients who receive steroid shots for lower back pain are receiving only short term relief. In the March 20 Annals of Internal Medicine, research led by Dr. Christelle Nguyen out of the Paris Descartes University studied 135 patients with back pain. The patients in the study had pain causes by inflammation between the discs and vertebrae of the lower spine.
Patients treated with a steroid shot experienced relief that only lasted a month. Patients were identified as having lower back pain and disc inflammation seen on MRI. Half of the group received injections, all patients were asked to rate their pain at the 1, 3, 6 and 12 month marks. After one month, the relief experienced began to weaken and after one year, there was no difference between patients who received injections and those who didn’t . Dr. Nguyen relates that their findings can not support use of steroid injections to treat back pain.

Dr. Byron Schneider of Vanderbilt University of medicine relates there are several causes of back pain. People may have chronic lower back pain for several reasons which is why the steroid shot is only temporary. He relates people experiencing sudden back pain lasting over a month could benefit from injections while chronic sufferers need pain treatment as well as pain psychology to cope with the pain.

Key Points:

  • 1Injections can help with lower back pain, but only for short term.
  • 2Other options should be considered for chronic lower back pain, such as behavior therapy.
  • 3Although injections only work for a short period of time, they shouldn’t be avoided, if necessary to get rid of pain.

The researchers found that a single steroid injection eased pain for one month. After that, however, effectiveness waned. Virtually no difference was seen one year after treatment between patients who did or didn’t get the injection.”

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