The increased popularity of epidural steroid injections over the last years is mostly triggered by the non-invasive character of this procedure. More often than not, this treatment has been chosen in the detriment of classic surgery. Some voices, however, claimed and continue to claim that the safety or efficiency of these injections is questionable, while others firmly believe in their power. Let us take a closer look at a list of the pros and cons in terms of epidural steroid injections.

Pros Of Epidural Steroid Injectionsepidural steroid injection

  • Patients who benefit from these injections can benefit from pain reduction in their legs, especially when used together with physical therapy.

  • Epidural steroid injections have a high rate of success and their effects can last for 7 days up to a year. Low back pain patients can enjoy a lot of relief. In fact, more than half of them get relief when the right kind of placement is achieved with the help of fluoroscopic guidance and contrast.

  • Leg pain sufferers are more likely to benefit from the pain relief powers of these injections, as compared to low back pain patients.

  • Patients can improve the quality of their life, as well as their mental well-being with the help of this treatment. They can also use fewer painkillers and avoid or at least delay serious surgery. They can also resume their regular life, jobs and family life. For example, servicemen, such as commercial electricians,  commercial locksmiths or plumbers can resume their work and start carrying their toolboxes on the job – something they were unable to do prior to their epidural steroid injections.

Cons Of Steroid Injections

  • According to an analysis of 23 trials featuring 2,000+ patients, epidural steroid injections produce small and rather insignificant positive changes in terms of leg disability in the short term. Compared to the placebo effect, the improvements were not satisfactory over a longer period of time.

  • There is a higher risk of fracture and deterioration of the skeleton as a result of steroid injections that could be contaminated with fungi. In 2012, the deaths of several patients were correlated with fungal meningitis as a result of tainted injections.

  • These steroid injections are also known to have a few side effects, including nerve damage and bleeding. The medication associated with steroid injections is also known to trigger some side effects, such as ulcers, high blood sugar levels or cataracts. Prolonged treatment could lead to increased risk of osteoporosis, given the higher risk of fractures because of the increased fragility of the skeleton.

  • A patient suffering from back pain without sciatica are showing no improvements from these injections, but their physicians continue to have the treatment prescribed to them.

  • The fees associated with these injections have also risen dramatically, and given their rather limited effects, many see no real use in them. All patients should be aware of all of their treatment alternatives so they can compare rates of efficiency, costs and long term effects and make an informed decision.

Alternatives To Epidural Steroid Injections

Chiropractors have been preaching their theory for low back pain treatments for over a century. Patients and physicians looking for good alternatives to steroid injections or surgery have now started to pay more attention to these alternatives. Quality joint movement therapies, healthier diets and a strengthening of the supporting muscle structures are a few of the most important strategies patients could be opting for.

The joint movement needs to be significantly improved with the help of chiropractic adjustments that will enable the spinal vertebrae to move a lot smoother. The same chiropractic procedures could help normalize neural responses.

By periodically strengthening the supporting muscle structures in the spine, patients can get even more relief. There are plenty of rehabilitation exercises that can be used in order to maintain your back moving properly and remaining in good shape.

Steering clear from refined sugars, alcohol and heavily processed foods will also help reduce inflammation and the intensity of back pain in people with high levels of systemic inflammation. Introduce more fresh foods and veggies into your menu, along with seeds, nuts, and fish rich in Omega-3 fatty acids and you should be able to significantly decrease your sensitivity to pain.