For many people, back pain goes away on its own or with nonsurgical treatments. Epidural steroid injections shouldn't typically be used as a first-line therapy for back pain relief, but that doesn't mean they can't play a role in treating pain. But injections won't cure the underlying cause of back pain, and they provide only temporary relief. Unfortunately, in many cases, chronic back pain can't be cured, but must instead be managed, like other chronic conditionsand patients must have realistic expectations of what epidurals can do.
Cortisone injections are extremely safe, but they do still have potential problems. If you are concerned about having a cortisone shot, talk with your doctor. While cortisone is a powerful treatment for many orthopedic conditions, there are usually other options that can also be tried. Many doctors will offer an injection as they are quick, easy, and most often effective. However, your doctor should also be able to offer other treatments for inflammation that may also be effective for those that cannot have, or don't want, a cortisone injection.
Guidelines from the American College of Rheumatology conditionally recommend the use of intra-articular corticosteroid injections for treatment of knee osteoarthritis. 51 The duration of pain relief is one to two weeks in most trials, with a few showing improvements lasting three to four weeks. 60 – 63 Research uniformly supports the safety of intra-articular corticosteroid injections for treatment of knee osteoarthritis; however, these studies are limited by lack of histologic data and poor long-term follow-up. 64 A Cochrane review found weak evidence for the use of corticosteroid injections for the treatment of knee rheumatoid arthritis. 52