4 Reasons Not to Get Spinal Injections for Your Pain

spinal injection for pain, epidual steroid injection

Spinal injection shots are becoming a fairly common treatment for chronic pain and stenosis. However, while they may (emphasis on “may”) provide temporary relief for chronic pain and sciatica, here are 4 reasons to seek alternative therapies.

1)  Spinal injections do nothing to correct the problem that is the root cause of your pain.

The injection is simply blocking the mechanism that delivers the pain message to your brain or temporarily reducing inflammation. But it is doing nothing to fix the problem that is actually causing the pain and inflammation. Consider this, if your check engine light comes on in your car, how do you fix it? Do you cut the wire so that the light turns off? Or do you determine what malfunction is causing the light to come on and fix that problem? Until you fix the cause of the pain, it will always come back.

2)  There’s a good chance that the injection won’t even work.

The injection will never fix the problem permanently, but often it won’t even work temporarily. For the sake of argument, let’s assume that the injection is given properly at the correct nerve root level. Your body is smart and it’s super efficient at protecting itself. (Remember, the purpose of the pain sensation is for self protection.) So, even if the injection is given to the correct spot, your body is so smart that your interneurons (pain processors which are an extension of the gray matter of the brain) can “back door” the blocked nerves and send the pain message to the brain via nearby nerve pathways that have not been blocked.

3)  The FDA has not approved corticosteroids for this use.

In April 2014, the FDA warned about the risks of some injections stating, “The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is warning that injection of corticosteroids into the epidural space of the spine may result in rare but serious adverse events, including loss of vision, stroke, paralysis, and death. The injections are given to treat neck and back pain, and radiating pain in the arms and legs… Injecting corticosteroids into the epidural space of the spine has been a widespread practice for many decades; however, the effectiveness and safety of the drugs for this use have not been established, and FDA has not approved corticosteroids for such use. We started investigating this safety issue when we became aware of medical professionals’ concerns about epidural corticosteroid injections and the risk of serious neurologic adverse events… Injectable corticosteroids include methylprednisolone, hydrocortisone, triamcinolone, betamethasone, and dexamethasone.” (See the FDA announcement here).1

4)  There are serious risks and side effects.

In addition to the risks mentioned in the FDA warning (loss of vision, stroke, paralysis, and death), there are other serious risks to carefully consider including: infection, bleeding, nerve damage, headaches, bone damage, muscle weakness, and increased pain.2 Yes, you read that correctly, increased pain is a side effect of this pain treatment.

In fact, epidural steroid injections cannot be given more than a few times each year due to the fact that they can weaken the bones of your spine and nearby muscles.3 Other side effects of steroid injections may include facial flushing, increased appetite, menstrual irregularities, increased blood sugar, nausea, and diarrhea.2So ask yourself this –is it really worth the risk and expense for a shot that might not work, carries serious risks and side effects, can actually cause more damage, will wear off in time, and DOES NOTHING TO FIX THE ACTUAL PROBLEM?

For lasting pain relief, you have to look beyond the symptoms and understand the interaction of the systems of the body. You have to look at the muscles, bones, nerves, ligaments, and joints. You need to find and address the root cause of the problem or the pain will keep coming back.

FDA-cleared High Intensity Laser Therapy can help you break through your chronic pain. In my nearly 30 years of practice, it is the only healing tool that I’ve seen that addresses muscles, bones, nerves, ligaments, and joints to provide lasting relief for chronic pain sufferers.

For a no-cost, no-obligation consultation, click here or call my office at 844-200-PAIN (7246).

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Dr. Curt Draeger, DC, DACBOH, CCST is the treating doctor to Team USA’s Olympic decathletes and pro football players, founder of Integrated Pain Solutions, and co-developer of the latest generation of High Intensity Therapeutic Lasers.  His unique chronic pain treatment protocol provides lasting relief and healing to anyone suffering from chronic pain by combining High Intensity Laser Therapy with other manual therapies once reserved exclusively for professional athletes.