Back Pain Shots Speed Up Bone Loss: What You Can Do Instead!

When researchers at Henry Ford Hospital discovered that a standard treatment for back pain was drastically draining bone strength, they were shocked. They found that epidural steroid injections, commonly given to postmenopausal women for back pain relief, caused them to lose bone density six times faster.

Back pain is one of the most common medical problems in the United States, affecting eight out of ten people at some point in their lives. Doctors often prescribe anti-inflammatory drugs and physical therapy for back problems, and epidural steroids are frequently an additional part of the treatment plan.

“The findings of our study suggest that epidural steroid injections for back pain relief should be approached cautiously in patients at risk for bone fragility,” warns researcher Shlomo Mandel. “Physicians who do prescribe them should consider measures that optimize bone health, such as calcium and vitamin D supplements and exercise, as part of their patient’s treatment plan.”

“Patients receiving multiple steroid injections with a history of steroid exposure may be especially susceptible to compromised bone strength,” Mandel further emphasizes.

Alternatives for Back Pain Relief

There are several options available for you to lower your risk of back pain and avoid bone loss:

1. Quit smoking. Inflammation from tobacco smoke can make back problems worse.

2. Lose weight. Extra body fat, especially around your midsection, puts additional stress on spinal discs.

3. Limit alcohol consumption. Overindulging in alcoholic beverages creates inflammation and can further damage your back.

4. Try Pilates exercises. A study at Sydney Medical School in Australia shows that Pilates may help relieve back issues.

5. Use herbs and supplements. Herbs like devil’s claw and chamomile can help with back pain. Dr. Michael Cutler also recommends homeopathic arnica, extra vitamin C (3,000 mg daily with bioflavonoids), and enzymes like bromelain to relieve back pain.

Don’t Forget About Vitamin D

Researchers at the Sunlight, Nutrition, and Health Research Center found that a lack of vitamin D contributes to the large number of people worldwide who suffer from low back pain. Ensuring you have adequate vitamin D levels can be a factor in preventing or alleviating back pain.

Break Up the Sitting Time

Another aspect to consider when trying to relieve back pain is the negative effect of sitting for extended periods. Whenever possible, take short breaks to stand up, stretch, or even go for a walk. Doing these activities, even in your office, can help maintain a healthy back.

Taking steps to relieve back pain and keeping your back in good condition by minimizing damage is definitely preferable to drastic medical procedures and surgery. By exploring alternative methods of pain relief and making lifestyle changes, you may be able to avoid the need for epidural steroid injections and protect your bone health.