The use of lumbar corticosteroid injections is often utilized for patients with back and leg pain (radicular pain) and/or leg numbness, pins and needles, or nerve root weakness (radiculopathy). In an older adult these symptoms may be due to a narrowing of the canals in which the lumbar nerve roots exit (lumbar stenosis). These injections are costly and not without risk including a number of cases of infection in 2013-2014. A recent review of the available literature published this month in the Annals of Internal Medicine found limited effectiveness of these treatments compared to placebo trials for both lumbar radiculopathy and stenosis. http://nyti.ms/1hEmCDG. Chou et al. and colleagues reported injections for radiculopathy may offer a small, short-term effect but long term effectiveness is limited. In patients with lumbar stenosis the evidence reported little to no effectiveness on pain or function. Physical Therapy is the first line intervention for patients with these conditions.
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