Over 9 million spinal injections are given every year for spine-related pain. That is over 24,000 every day! Injections are often given when a patient is suffering from radiculopathy or a compressed nerve root.
OVER 24,000 INJECTIONS ARE GIVEN EVERY DAY
I believe there is a better way to find relief. But first, let’s set the stage a bit.
Whether the compression is caused by a disc, ligament, or bone – the nerve doesn’t care. It’s aggravated and causing pain. Statistically, many of these people are going to visit their medical doctor to find relief. Over 30% of the patients in a primary care doctors office are there for treatment of a musculoskeletal complaint.
When they go to see their medical doctor with radiculopathy, the medical doctor may prescribe an anti-inflammatory, and perhaps physical therapy. Then an MRI is ordered.
What do they find?
Well, if it’s a disc pressing on the nerve, the next stop for that patient is quite often a physiatrist, pain management doctor, or neurologist for a spinal injection. The goal of the injection is to decrease the inflammation and “numb” the area, which may provide temporary relief at best. And what happens when the injections stop working? It’s off to the surgeon.
I believe there is a better path to relief.
I thought it would be interesting to look at the research showcasing the use chiropractic or injections for the treatment of radiculopathy. First up was a study from JMPT in 2013. The title is “symptomatic MRI-confirmed lumbar disc herniation patients comparing high-velocity low amplitude spinal manipulative therapy or image guided lumbar nerve root injections.”
And Guess what the researchers found?
The researchers found, “both of the treatment groups had significant decreases in their pain scores at one month with a 60 percent reduction for the spinal manipulative therapy cohort and a 53 percent reduction for the nerve root injection group”. The spinal manipulation group had better outcomes than the nerve root injection group!
Additionally, they found, “lumbar nerve and injections are commonly used, and accepted treatment option for these patients whereas lumbar spinal manipulation as a treatment for disc herniation remains controversial amongst some healthcare professionals.”
That tells us that there is some work to do on the relationships building front. With the volume of nerve root injections and all the risks- people should be exploring conservative care, such as chiropractic, first!
(in the absence of red-flags and extenuating circumstances)
Keep in mind this is a symptomatic, MRI-confirmed lumbar disc herniation. The disc is placing direct pressure on the nerve. And while both groups found improvement, the chiropractic group, the spinal manipulation group, ultimately outperformed the nerve root injection group……..Now That’s exciting!
The fact that a conservative care option can outperform a ton of steroids being dumped on an inflamed nerve is impressive.Before you venture down the road of placing potentially dangerous needles and chemicals in and around the spine, explore the vast benefits of conservative treatment such as Chiropractic first and foremost. The side effects are virtually Zero with a great deal of upside.