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Steroid Shots May Not Improve Back Pain

A new study suggests that steroid shots may not help people with a common back pain problem. The study focused on spinal stenosis. With this condition, the open space in the spinal canal is narrowed. This squeezes nerves, causing pain. Doctors sometimes give injections of a corticosteroid to reduce swelling and inflammation. This is combined with a local anesthetic such as lidocaine to numb the area as the shot is given. The new study included 400 people with back and leg pain from spinal stenosis. They were randomly divided into 2 groups. One group received either 1 or 2 injections that contained a steroid plus lidocaine. The other group got injections of lidocaine only, without the steroid. Six weeks later, there were no differences between the groups in their levels of pain or function.

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