More About Spinal Steroid Injections


The widespread use of steroid injections for the treatment of back pain has found itself facing a great amount of controversy because of an outbreak of Meningitis. The outbreak has meant that potentially up to 14,000 patients may be exposed to the disease. Learning more about spinal steroid injections from the article published by CNN, we come to know that Methylprednisolone, a steroid drug used in contaminated and preservative-free injections for back pain, has a causal link in the Meningitis outbreak. Although steroids have helped reduce the inflammation and pain in tissues of the muscles around the spinal cord, the latest outcome of the use of this drug has created concerns within medical circles. Those who have received these injections live in constant fear of contacting Meningitis. Many have fallen seriously ill and some have died as a result.



This video illustrates the technique for performing a lumbar transforaminal epidural injection in the prone position. By





More About Spinal Steroid Injections

Injections are used to deliver a combination of local anaesthetic and steroid into or near your spine to ease chronic back pain.

Connie Lester was concerned when she heard that a deadly meningitis outbreak had been linked to spinal steroid injections. Anxiously watching the news for reports of cases in her home state of Kentucky, she debated whether to call her doctor.


“I thought, ‘Let’s just wait and see,’ ” she said. “Not anything you can do about it after it’s already done.”


Lester has been receiving steroid injections in her lower back for several months because of a herniated disk. The disk is pushing one of her nerves against a bone; friction between the two causes pain when she walks or stands for even short periods of time and can lead to numbness in her leg.


The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says that as many as 14,000 patients may have received injections of a contaminated preservative-free steroid called methylprednisolone acetate.


Steroids are commonly injected in patients with back pain, according to Dr. Irene Wu with the UCLA Pain Management Center. They’re also used to help with joint pain, arthritis or other inflammatory diseases.


Inflammation occurs when the body is trying to heal itself, like when your muscle tissue tears or something is irritating your cells. Unfortunately, inflammation can be self-perpetuating, leading to more inflammation and pain. Steroids help combat that effect, Wu says.


Injections are usually a last resort after patients have tried anti-inflammatory medications and physical therapy. The steroids are usually injected into the same location as epidurals. Most patients receive two or three shots over the course of a month.


“It depends on how bad the pain is,” Wu said. “Eighty percent of people need more than one to feel better.”


The contaminated steroids in the meningitis outbreak are linked to the Massachusetts-based New England Compounding Center. The CDC says 184 people in 12 states have been sickened with non-contagious meningitis as of Friday; 14 have died.


Infections with steroid spinal injections are rare, says Dr. Nick Shamie, an associate professor of orthopedic surgery and neurosurgery at UCLA. In his 12 years in practice, he says, he’s had only two patients develop bacterial infections. These typically happen in people with a compromised immune system.


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Steroid injections have helped many to get substantial relief from Spinal Stenosis and have been effective in combating the inflammation and pain due to wear and tear of muscle tissues. However, a recent outbreak of Meningitis caused by contaminated preservative-free steroid injection has resulted in serious sickness and death. Those having a compromised immune system have the chance of obtaining a bacterial infection due to steroid injections. Obtaining the infection naturally is rare; therefore, an increase in cases requires us to know more about spinal steroid injections. We hope that there will be answers soon, rather than some random stabs in the dark. Especially for those who have had an injection after May 21.



When a herniated disc causes pain, what can be done to help? One of the options is an epidural steroid injection. Dr. Matthew Kalter, a pain management physician in Long Island, tells us how.




Dana Nelson, Pharmacist in Charge for Wiley Sytems, Inc. explains what a compounding pharmacy is and how it differs from the pharmacy you’re probably used to.





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