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News2012November › Epidural for back pain increases bone fracture risk by 29 per cent › November 2012

Epidural for back pain increases bone fracture risk by 29 per cent

Doctors often use an epidural steroid injection to help ease back pain-but each shot increases the risk of fracture by 29 per cent

Doctors often use an epidural steroid injection to help ease back pain-but each shot increases the risk of fracture by 29 per cent.
As the patient already faces an increased risk of fracture, epidural injections need to be given more carefully, and only after the patient has first been tested for any bone weakness.
Patients with back pain often suffer from osteoporosis, which is usually treated with anti-inflammatory drugs to help reduce the pain, and with physical therapy. If these fail, an epidural steroid injection is often recommended, but up to now doctors have not realised they could be causing more harm than good.
Researchers from the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit discovered the risks of an epidural when they looked at the case records of around 6,000 patients, half of whom had been given a steroid injection.
(Source: North American Spine Society annual meeting, Dallas, October 25, 2012).


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