Epidural steroid injections are a common treatment used by pain management doctors and orthopedists for patients suffering from the pain associated with spinal disc injuries and nerve pain. These treatments are effective for diminishing the pain associated with bulging and herniated discs, sciatic pain and generalized moderate to severe lower back and neck pain. Though these treatments are effective, they are, by design, temporary. Most people who have these kind of injections will experience relief for weeks to months (although on rare occasions they can last up to a year).
We have seen a lot of patients at the Roseville Disc Center for herniated and bulging discs after they have had two or three of these injections. The typical scenario is that the first shot has the best results and the following shots all have diminishing returns – meaning they don’t work as well as the first shot.
When we see patients at our office for disc injuries we always give them all the options for treating their condition. I think a well-informed patient can make the best decision for what kind of care is best for them. Of course, I am confident that non-surgical spinal decompression is the safest, most effective treatment there is for most disc injuries.
Steroid injections, like most pharmaceutical treatments do have side effects. Some common side effects of steroid injections are dizziness, headaches, weakening of the tissues and bony structures of the spine, and spiking of blood pressure. None of these side effects should be taken lightly. That is one of the reasons I like spinal decompression so much. Not only is it one of the most effective treatments for disc injuries (studies show that non-surgical spinal decompression is about 85% effective) but it is also among the safest having literally no side effects except soreness.
A recent study brought in 102 patients with herniated discs and compared the efficacy of steroid injections to chiropractic. The study showed that after Epidural Injections for lumbar disc herniations 62.7% of the patients stated they felt “better or much better” after the injections compared to 76.5% of the chiropractic patients. In that same study they found that 60% of chiropractic patients had significant pain reduction while only 53% of patients with epidural injections had significant pain reduction.
The difference here, of course, is both chiropractic and steroid injections are both temporary symptomatic relief to pain from herniated discs. Unlike non-surgical spinal decompression which in most cases, actually works on the disc to reduce the herniation.