Chiropractic and Epidural Injections for Back Pain
A new study shows that chiropractic is just as effective as epidural injections in treating lower back disc herniation but with less cost and less side effects. Epidural injections are commonly used to provide relief from disc herniation and other conditions causing back pain. Chiropractic is also used to treat back pain and to address possible underlying causes of the pain.
This study (Peterson et al) set out to compare the efficacy of two treatment methods for patients suffering from lumbar disc herniation: chiropractic adjustments and nerve root injections (epidural injections).
The study consisted of 102 patients who had an imaged-confirmed lumbar disc herniation. Half the patients received chiropractic therapy and the other half received nerve root injections.
What the study found was that between the two groups, ‘improvement’ was reported in 76.5% of patients receiving chiropractic treatment and in 62.7% of the steroidal injection group. Both groups reported significant pain reduction after one month.
The study also reported on the cost of both treatments.
“The average cost for treatment with Chiropractic was US $558.75 and US $729.61 for nerve root injection.”
In conclusion, the study commented:
“When considering direct procedure costs, the average cost of Chiropractic was slightly less expensive.”
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Do Steroidal Injections Really Help Back Pain?
The short answer is: in some cases. The aim of a steroidal injection is to provide pain relief, usually over the short term, in cases of spinal disc herniation.
As the website Spine Health reports, although many studies document the short-term benefits of epidural steroid injections, the data on long-term effectiveness are less convincing. In fact, the effectiveness of epidural injections for pain relief continues to be a hotly debated topic. This is accentuated by the lack of properly performed studies.
The website also comments:
“the effects of the injection tend to be temporary – providing relief from pain for one week up to one year.”
Epidural steroidal injections do not address any underlying cause of back pain. You need to decide and weight up for yourself the pros and cons of each type of treatment.
Chiropractic is generally regarded as a safe and effective treatment for many musculoskeletal issues, including lower back pain. Chiropractic is also a natural, non-invasive and drug-free form of primary health care.
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It’s never too late to take better care of your spine and nervous system. If you want to address your back pain, please book a chiropractic consultation at New World Chiro please phone or email us today.
- Peterson CK, Leemann S, Lechmann M, Pfirrmann CW, Hodler J, Humphreys BK. Symptomatic magnetic resonance imaging-confirmed lumbar disk herniation patients: a comparative effectiveness prospective observational study of 2 age- and sex-matched cohorts treated with either high-velocity, low-amplitude spinal manipulative therapy or imaging-guided lumbar nerve root injections. J Manipulative Physiol Ther. 2013 May;36(4):218-25. Epub 2013 May 22.
- Spine Health ‘Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections for Low Back Pain and Sciatica’ accessed June 2016. www.spine-health.com.