Q:

What are the benefits of receiving spinal shots for back pain?

A:

Quick Answer

Steroid injections for back pain decrease inflammation at the source of the patient's pain, explains Spine-health. Injections cause fewer side effects than oral medications and provide effective short-term pain relief. Additionally, patients who have less pain usually participate more fully in the rehabilitative exercise programs essential to their recovery.

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Full Answer

Doctors also use spinal injections to diagnose disorders of the spine and spinal nerves, the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons reports. In these cases, the doctor injects a short-acting local anesthetic into a specific nerve or joint. If the injection relieves the patient's pain, the doctor uses a more permanent technique, such as injecting a long-acting steroid or "burning" the nerve with radiofrequency ablation, to provide long-term relief.

While spinal injections have been used for the treatment of back pain since 1952, their long-term efficacy is still highly debated, notes Spine-Health. Pain relief usually lasts between one week and one year.

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