Cohen also stressed that other back-pain treatments have risks as well. For older adults, he noted, long-term use of NSAIDs may raise the risk of heart problems.
"And the risks from surgery or narcotic painkillers are definitely greater than the risks from epidural steroids," Cohen said. "Unfortunately, there is no risk-free treatment."
Just as unfortunate, Cohen added, there seems to be no cure for low back pain. Even after surgery, the most extensive treatment, symptoms typically return eventually.
Learn more about low back pain from the U.S. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke.
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