One of the most frustrating ailments a person can experience is chronic back pain. It can happen so easily and seem like a minor problem. You bend weird when picking up your child, or reach awkwardly when hanging a picture on the wall, or simply slip on a wet bit of floor and you feel that tweak. Sometimes it goes away, just to come back when you bend wrong. Other times it can lay you up for weeks of misery. People who have experienced chronic back pain will do anything to try and find relief. Extensive massage sessions, constant chiropractor or acupuncture appointments, or any home remedy that someone recommends will all be attempted if it means an end to the pain. Sometimes there is no answer outside of pharmaceuticals. It isn’t the best idea in the world, setting up a situation where you are dependent on painkillers to get yourself out of bed, but for some back conditions that is exactly what it takes.
Other people have tried surgery, when doctors suggest that the condition could be correctable. The problem is, none of these surgeries come with a guarantee. They could go in to do the work and you could end up with no less pain and a huge medical bill. But the worst case happens all the time. Someone goes under the knife and wakes up in worse shape than they were before, either due to malpractice or simple bad luck.
People have also looked towards steroids as an alternative to surgery. Since steroids aren’t addictive and have much fewer side effects during short term use, doctors have looked to steroid injections as a possible solution. Medical professionals point to steroids for the treatment of lumbosacral radiculopathy, which is a fairly common reason people experience back pain. In those cases, there is actual damage to the discs that lay between your vertebrae, causing potential leg pain, numbness, or sciatic nerve damage. Doctors have been using steroids in these cases for a while, but a recent study has drawn its effectiveness into question.
According to research performed on a group of 84 adults, steroids may in fact be no better than taking a placebo, a scary proposition considering the nature of steroids. The research brought together 84 adults who had been experiencing back pain for no more than the past six months. The participants were split into three groups. The first group received the steroid injections, the second received a more traditional arthritic medication, and the last group was only give a saline solution. Two injections were given, each one separated by two weeks. After the full month had passed, the participants’ pain was measured.
The good news is that all three groups experienced a decrease in back and leg pain. The bad news is that there was no measurable difference in levels of decrease between any of the groups. There were slight changes, but nothing statistically significant. Given those results, the researchers were forced to declare that steroids could be seen as a short-term analgesic, but ineffective as a cure. The decreased pain was attributed to the simple process of a month of healing, and the lead author of the study concluded that at this point those seeking relief from back pain should go back to exercise. I guess that means it’s time to start hunting down deals on BestInversionTableReviews.org.
Evan Fischer is a freelance writer and part-time student at California Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks, California.