Health — 10 June 2013

Doctors prepare to make anesthesiaBy Pat Anson, Editor

Patients who receive epidural steroid injections are at increased risk of spinal fractures, according to new research published in Journal of Bone and Joint Surgery. The study, which we reported on last October, adds to a growing body of evidence that epidural steroid injections do little to relieve back pain and may do more harm than good.

The procedure is increasingly being used to treat back pain of all kind, with nearly 9 million spinal injections in the U.S. in 2011.

Researchers at the Henry Ford Health System studied the records of 3,000 patients, aged 50 and older, who received at least one steroid injection for back pain. They found that the risk of a spinal fracture increases 21 percent with each steroid injection, when compared to a control group that received no injections.

“For a patient population already at risk for bone fractures, steroid injections carry a greater risk that previously thought and actually pose a hazard to the bone,” said lead author Shlomo Mandel, MD, a Henry Ford orthopedic physician. Mandel recommends that patients being treated with steroid injections be told about the risk of fractures and undergo bone testing.

Read more at National Pain Report.

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About Author

Pat Anson, Editor

Pat is Editor in Chief of American News Report. He is a veteran journalist and a former correspondent and producer for HealthWeek (PBS), Nightly Business Report (PBS) and other nationally syndicated shows. Pat has won numerous journalism awards, including a Golden Mike award for investigative reporting.

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