Epidural Steroid Injections: If You’re Considering One Read This

Here is a curious discussion by two orthopedic surgeons regarding the use of epidural steroid injections for back pain due to spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spine). One concludes they are a valuable and useful treatment tool, the other argues they have no place at all in treating lumbar (low back) stenosis. As you will see, there is much debate even amongst physicians within the same specialty/field regarding common medical procedures and their use/effectiveness.

The argument against them is based on recent studies that show ESI’s contribute to worse long-term outcomes for those who undergo them versus those who don’t, the potential damaging effects of the steroid on joints and tissue around the joints, and higher rates of surgical intervention in some populations for those that get injections. This may give you some perspective and background if you’re considering this or know someone who is. Take home message for me: research, read, ask questions, and be your own advocate.


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