It is common – when in pain, to receive a “shot” from the doc to help alleviate the discomfort. Recently more and more this shot comes in the from of a corticosteroid. An interesting new study is mounting evidence that they work no better than placebos.
In a review published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, a study combining data from 30 placebo-controlled studies of epidural steroid injections for radiculopathy (back pain that radiates to the legs) and eight studies of spinal stenosis (back or neck pain caused by narrowing of the spinal canal).
The results of the study showed that in cases of radiculopathy, the injections provided short-term pain relief, but over time were no more likely to be helpful than placebos, and they did not reduce the need for later surgery.
The pooled data showed similar results with injections for spinal stenosis — some moderate temporary pain relief, but no differences between treatment and placebo in pain intensity or functional ability lasting six weeks or longer after the shot.
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