Steroid Injections for Back Pain

People having pain in low back have various options in order to potentially relieve their pain which include massage, spinal manipulation, surgery, medication, or just simply not doing anything about it and let time do its work. Recently though, steroid injections have started becoming very popular in treatment of low back pain. This option though, has not been passed by FDA (Food and Drug Administration)

Use of these steroid injections for managing low back pain has gone up dramatically in recent times. Along with this, the costs of these injections are also going up considerably. Not just restricted to low back pain, it is also used for pain management for patients suffering from pain which travels right down to the buttocks and even to the leg. This is commonly referred to as sciatica or pain of the nerve root.

Research shows that since the use of these steroid injections have increased, they consequently reflect how the problem of low back pain has also increased, although experts suggest that this increase is more due to the financial incentives.

Quite a lot of conditions put strain nerves which travel from base of spine right down to sciatic nerve which runs down to each leg. These pressures and conditions end up inflaming and irritating the nerve, which cause pain accompanied by tingling and numbness. This is called the radicular pain. Problems which cause pressure include arthritis, a herniated disk, sugar problems as well as degenerative changes which grow bony bumps on the spine.

These Steroids injections are typically injected in the spine, usually in the area which is called epidural space. This epidural space exists between vertebrae and protective covering over the spinal cord temporarily reducing irritation in the nerves as well as inflammation.

This spinal steroid injection succeeds in pain relief in approximately fifty percent patients. In case if patients do not get immediate relief from their low back or leg pain then physicians generally do not prescribe any further injections since any further injections will not prove successful either. However, if one shot of this steroid injection is successful in relieving low back or leg pain then, over time, further epidural shot may be given.

Although, there are definite researches which dictate how frequently these injections for pain relief of low back pain and leg pain may be used. Though generally, it is quite reasonable that this procedure may be performed till about three epidural shots in a 6 month time period. However, there is no rule which says that these shots need to be repeated. If in case, 2 shots of these spinal steroid injections are sufficient for pain relief, then the 3rd one may be saved as a last resort.