Did you know about the spinal and health dangers of epidural steroid, nerve root block (SNRB) & facet joint block injections? Unfortunately they are not often talked about by those 'trigger happy' Spine & Neuro Consultants. It is their job and that is how they earn their money, so maybe that is also where another danger lies. Spine Health promoted an article recently, written by Peter F. Ullrich, Jr., MD, about the benefits of various injections, but forgot to mention the side-effects and the short & long term dangers to your spine and health...
That got me a little wound up to say the least, so what better way to air my anger by writing this article.
The Lies of Epidural Steroid, Nerve Root & Facet Joint Block Injections
Spinal injections are often being justified for some of the following reasons:
Lie 1 - Spinal Injections Relieve Lower Back Pain Long term
According Peter Ullrich the injections are directly administered at the anatomical area where the pain and inflammation is, unlike oral medication. By typically injecting a steroidal medication into the affected area it will more often then not provide long term pain relief.
No medication nor injections will provide long term pain relief, because it does not deal with the 'hidden cause' which was the reason why that facet joint (spinal joint) got overworked thus inflamed and painful.
The danger here is that it ONLY masks the pain, leaving the body's alarm system powerless. Pain is a warning that something is wrong, thus you need to take it easy to prevent more damage. This very important system is being shut down...
...thus more damage can potentially be done to the spinal structure(s) affected!
The body naturally fights inflammation by producing 'proteolytic enzymes', but sometimes due to severity or age it does not produce enough. Therefore taking proteolytic enzymes can help the body to fight inflammation effectively and naturally. These can be bought at any good health food shop near to you.
On the other hand steroidal medications when administered or taken orally over a longer period will cause besides health dangers, also cause...
1) weakening of the bone structures
2) tearing tendons & ligaments
3) compression fractures (weakening bone structures)
This will leave the spine long term with more potential problems, which are often NOT reversible.
There is another lie used for justifying spinal epidural steroid, facet joint or nerve root block injections...
Lie 2 - Spinal Injections Can Help to Diagnose Back Pain
It is being said that various spinal injections can help to diagnose the cause of the pain. If for example a 'facet joint block' injection is administered using for example 'lidocaine', it may be that the patient experiences pain relief. Therefore the 'cause' of the back pain is a facet joint issue.
On the one hand that could be possible, although even when injected locally, it will also have a numbing affect on the surrounding tissue structures. So this is not really a very concise way of diagnosing. But even when used in conjunction with a X-ray or Scan and a physical examination it still may not be accurate.
Unless the physical examination is a well thought out functional assessment, thus really identifying the 'hidden causes', then a diagnosis of a facetal joint inflammation / stiffness / locking, more often then not leads to a treatment that concentrates on that ONLY, thus a symptomatic treatment.
Loosening the locked joint will provide relief but is only temporary!
So don't be talked into having an injection unless you have discussed and understand the dangers of injections to your spine long term.
Don't Mask the Pain, Deal with the True Cause
Injections of the spine will in most cases only mask the pain and cause more damage to the spinal structures long term. You need to see a health professional who understands how to identify the 'hidden causes' of your lower back pain.
Only that way you will be able to heal back pain effectively and permanently. When a spinal structure is inflamed causing a lot of pain, any good health professional who prefers a natural approach will advise you to take Proteolytic Enzymes as mentioned earlier...
The one that contains all the important ingredients is Dr's Best Proteolytic Enzymes. Whichever one you choose or are able to get at your nearest health food store, make sure it contains the ingredients as listed to the left...
I have found this to be very effective for the patients I prescribed this to in my Clinic.
Let us know here what your experiences are to help others.
I hope this has given you some food for thought regarding spinal injections, but if you do decide to go ahead please make sure to discuss the dangers and all other options you may have.
In my professional opinion injections are part of the popular treatments that more often then not don't work because they do NOT deal with the 'hidden causes' of back pain...
If you do wish to read more on spinal injections you can read the article and watch the videos on the Spine Health site. Hopefully the article will be updated as it was published first in 1999 and things have changed considerably since.
Have you had any steroid, nerve root or facet joint block injections? If so, what was your experience?