Back Pain Treatment - Steroid Injections

Steroids have long been used in treating various types of joint pain and back pain disorders. Steroids may be taken orally, or through injections in much smaller doses. Steroids, when taken orally, are absorbed by the bloodstream and block the release of certain chemicals that initiate the inflammatory processes that occur when the body is injured. These oral steroids specifically block the release of leukotrienes and prostaglandins, which are released around injured or diseased tissues. The benefit of steroids being in the body is the prevention of pain that would be one of the byproducts of the inflammation process. One of the problems of oral steroids is that leukotrienes and prostaglandins also support many other body processes, including the protection of the lining of the digestive tract. Also, consumption of these steroidal drugs may cause damage to the kidneys or the liver.

Steroid injections, on the other hand, are delivered in much smaller doses, to a specific pain generator - the part of the body responsible for joint pain. These injections are delivered at or near the joints and not through the bloodstream, thus not having the same negative effects of oral steroids. Steroid injections may also be effective as a diagnostic tool, as well. Oral steroids, since they are delivered systemically (throughout the whole body), have the ability of preventing inflammation in all of the joints. So even if they do work, there is no way to tell where the inflammation process was prevented, and thus where the main pain generator is. Often with musculoskeletal injuries, the place where you feel pain is actually referred pain - pain that is felt in one region of the body but is experienced as a result of an injury in another section.

With steroid injections, the steroids are delivered to and affect only a very small area. So after the treatment is completed, the patient will know if the treatment worked. If the treatment does work, and the patient experiences back pain relief, he or she will know that the area injected was the main pain generator.

Back pain treatment - steroid injections: Steroid injections are particularly effective in treating conditions that involve moderate to severe inflammation, such as bursitis or osteoarthritis. Though the process of inflammation is actually important step towards healing joint injuries and soft tissue tears, with conditions such as osteoarthritis, the damage done to the joints is irreversible. Because the joint damage is irreversible, the inflammatory process that includes the byproduct of pain, may continue indefinitely, with no real therapeutic benefit. With steroid injections, the treatment may actually provide back pain relief for a significant period of time. These types of injections are useful when the condition being controlled is causing damage to the joint, as with osteoarthritis.

Cortisone injections are very popular because they often eliminate pain almost immediately, and with no apparent side effects. Cortisone injections are often good at treating injuries involving osteoarthritis as well as bursitis. Bursas are fluid-filled sacs that are places around joints and tendons and bones to prevent trauma to the tendons. When the bursas become inflamed, they may no longer provide the proper lubrication for the tendons and other soft tissues, and the soft tissues may be at risk of becoming injures. These injections may often provide immediate treatment healing to these bursa sacs.