Are Steroid Injections for Back Pain Safe?
Steroid injections for back pain have been in the news due to fungal meningitis. Are they safe? In this video, Darria Gillespie, MD, MBA, an emergency room physician at Emory University Hospital, discusses steroids and alternatives.
So many of my patients ask me for help with their back pain.
And it's not surprising. Back pain is an unfortunately common and debilitating condition.
Many have recently asked me about steroid injections. But how safe are they? I'm Dr. Darria Long Gillespie, an emergency room doctor
at Emory University Hospital. Now, by and large, steroid injections are safe. But there have been some frightening news
about fungal meningitis caused by them. These outbreaks typically occur when contaminated steroid medications were used for the injection.
And while they're not common, it did cause patients to question whether they should avoid them altogether.
You may be wondering the same thing, but if the shot helps you, I don't recommend abandoning them. But do have a conversation with your doctor
about the risks and benefits of them. It's also important to know that these injections don't work
for everyone, which is why I always recommend to my patients that they first try other noninvasive therapies to ease
an aching back. Begin with over-the-counter medications, such as Tylenol and Motrin, hot and cold
compresses, and even try a massage. Especially important is that people with back pain may try to avoid movement, but it's the opposite.
Remaining active, whether it's walking or gentle back strengthening exercises are some of the best ways to get your back feeling better.
Remember, a stronger back will recover much more quickly than a weak one. So seek out physical therapy and exercises
geared towards back pain. Finally, if you suffer from chronic pain, consult a pain specialist, a doctor
specially trained to help you get on the best regimen to maximize your functioning. I'm Dr. Darria.
back neck pain
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