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Little benefit found in common back pain treatment method

A study has found that the widely used method of treating a common cause of back and leg pain – steroid injections for spinal stenosis – may provide little benefit, reports [s]The New York Times[/s]. Patients receiving a standard stenosis injection – which combines a steroid and a local anaesthetic – had no less pain and virtually no greater function after six weeks than patients injected with anaesthetic alone. Dr Gunnar Andersson, chair emeritus of orthopaedic surgery at [b]Rush University Medical Centre in Chicago[/b], says: It’s sort of become the thing you do. You see this abnormality on the MRI and the patient complains, and immediately, you send the patient for an epidural injection.’ He added that some people can still benefit from injections but now physicians ‘will be more cautious’ and patients should ask, ‘Should I really do this?’

[link url=http://www.nytimes.com/2014/07/03/health/treatment-for-back-pain-provides-little-help-study.html?_r=0]Full report in The New York Times[/link]
[link url=http://www.nejm.org/doi/full/10.1056/NEJMoa1313265]New England Journal of Medicine abstract[/link]

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