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Different Epidural Injections May Relieve Low Back Pain

Last Updated: June 26, 2009.

Caudal epidural injections with local anesthetic, with or without steroids, may help patients with low back pain, but the steroids may help provide faster relief, according to research published in the June 15 issue of Spine.

FRIDAY, June 26 (HealthDay News) -- Caudal epidural injections (CEIs) with local anesthetic, with or without steroids, may help patients with low back pain, but the steroids may help provide faster relief, according to research published in the June 15 issue of Spine.

Fares E. Sayegh, M.D., of the Aristotle University of Thessaloniki Medical School in Greece, and colleagues analyzed data from 183 patients with severe chronic low back pain and sciatica who were randomized to receive CEIs with xylocaine, betamethasone dipropionate and betamethasone phosphate, or injections with xylocaine and water for injection (WFI).

The researchers found that both groups showed improvements in symptoms from the first week following injection, but the rate of decrease in Oswestry Disability Index score was more rapid in the steroid group. Although both groups showed improvements in the straight leg raising test, the improvement was faster in the steroid group.

"CEIs containing local anesthetic and steroid or WFI could be effective in relieving the symptoms of patients suffering from low back pain and sciatica. The injection of steroid with local anesthetic leads to greater and faster relief during the first week after the CEI and this improvement is maintained even one-year later. The clinical symptoms of the WFI-group patients are relieved in a more progressive way and not as much and as fast as of the steroid-group's patients, even one year after the CEI," the authors write.

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