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For Disc Herniations Chiropractic Is Better Than Epidural Injections

A study that compared the effectiveness of epidural injections to chiropractic care for the treatment of back pain associated with disc herniation found that chiropractic care was not only just as effective as epidural injections, but that it was also cheaper with a lower risk factor for troubling side effects. These results are good news for people who suffer from lumbar disc herniation which causes chronic lower back pain. By choosing chiropractic care over epidural injections, patients with herniated discs save on health care costs while reducing the pain they experience with the same level of efficacy.

The most frequently used treatment by standard medical care practitioners for a multiple array of musculoskeletal problems including lumbar disc herniation, failed back surgery syndrome, sciatica, and spinal stenosis is a treatment known as epidural injection. This procedure is performed by having a physician inject pain medication in high doses, which sometimes also include steroids, into a region of the body near the lumbar spine where damaged nerves are located. The temporary pain relief this brings is caused by a reduction in inflammation in the tissues.

However, some are skeptical of these treatments due their lack of foundation in placebo controlled studies. For a highly expensive treatment to be so widely used on a basis supported by little evidence, it’s easy to draw cynical conclusions about the greed of traditional health care practices. Aside from this, epidural injections are surrounded with many questions about wether the inclusion of expensive steroids in the solution has any advantage over pain killers alone. This is because steroids have been shown to have side effects that include a weakening effect on muscles, weakening of bones in the spine near the affected nerve, and the creation of hormone imbalances in their natural production by the body. Furthermore, it remains unclear if epidural injections have any advantage over other more conservative approaches offered by conventional medical practices.

Chiropractic care has long be the subject of studies that show it to be an effective treatment for chronic low back pain. However, few of these studies have been specifically focused on the comparison of chiropractic spinal manipulation treatment for low back to epidural injections for disc herniation.

The new study included 102 patients with confirmed disc herniation. While chiropractic care beat out epidural injections with a success rate at about 14 percent higher, this was deemed insignificant. Yet, where chiropractic care really won out over epidural injections was at patient cost, with a monthly rate of treatment at $558 vs. $729.

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Used under Creative Commons Licensing courtesy of Alden Chadwick

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