Steroid Injections for Back Pain Linked to Spinal Fracture Risk

Study of older adults doesn't prove that steroids are to blame, but experts advise caution

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If they opt to continue the treatment, Mandel said, they may want to talk with their doctor about ways to preserve their bone mass -- such as calcium and vitamin D supplements.

"There are also a number of other options for spinal stenosis," Schoenfeld said. Normally, doctors would start conservatively, with physical therapy or medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or drugs that target nerve pain, including gabapentin (Neurontin) and pregabalin (Lyrica).

Steroid injections would be the middle ground for patients who don't respond to those treatments but want to put off surgery, Schoenfeld said. Surgery to relieve pressure on the nerves is often effective, said Schoenfeld, although someone with spinal stenosis may later develop the narrowing in another area of spine.

More information

Learn more about spinal stenosis from the U.S. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases.

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