In the past, individuals who experienced a pinched nerve in their spine, also known as lumbar spinal stenosis, have been prescribed epidural injections of steroids when a physical therapy regimen has been ineffective. According to the Mayo Clinic, spinal stenosis occurs during aging as the gaps between the spine narrow, which can put pressure on specific nerves or the cord itself, resulting in back pain, numbness and other discomfort. However, according to a recent study that appeared in the journal Spine, these treatments may have had less of an impact on a patient's recovery than previously thought.
Researchers examined a small sample of patients from a larger study, including 69 spine patients who had been receiving epidural injections, and compared them to another group of 207 individuals who were not receiving injections. The age group was a mix of men and women from ages 53 to 75, and the researchers followed each group for four years. It was found that there were no noticeable differences between the two groups in terms of reducing the severity of back pain and its associated symptoms.
According to lead author Kris Radcliff M.D. with the Rothman Institute at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, explained that while steroid injections could be beneficial for some patients, he also speculated that inserting these materials into an already crowded environment could cover up the pain without actually providing a real solution, reported the U.S. National Library of Medicine.
Ultimately, doctors believe that epidural injections can play an important role in delaying spinal surgery, but they shouldn't be relied on as a primary means of treating back pain. In addition to this traditional forms of treatment, spinal stenosis sufferers may also want to consult with their healthcare provider about utilizing a decompression belt for back pain and other drug-free back pain remedies that could dramatically reduce their symptoms. The air-powered belt gently expands to stretch and traction the muscles of the back, which decompresses spinal discs and can relieve a wide variety of chronic pain issues.