More Evidence Mounts that Steroid Epidural Injections have Significant Side Effects

By Chris Centeno, MD /

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steroid epidural side effects

More evidence mounts that steroid epidural side effects are significant and consequently, this has been a horrible several months for epidural steroid injections. There have been several studies showing significant bone loss due to the high dose steroids, others showing a stark increase in bone osteonecrosis with oral steroids, used as well as the NECC compounding tragedy. Just when you thought it couldn’t get any worse, a new study was just published that shows the extent of the whole body side effects that can be caused by steroid epidurals. The study demonstrated that the epidural steroids suppressed the brain loop that allows you to normally respond to stress and inflammation (hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal (HPA) axis) for as much as three weeks after a single shot! This is really concerning as these injections are commonly used every week for three weeks. Suppression of this brain function negatively impacts the body’s energy reserves, ability to handle stress, as well as it’s ability to regulate the hormonal and nervous systems. It can also have profound impacts on modulating immune function. Particularly with chronic (long term) stress, suppression of these interconnected functions can lead to compromised health and disease, and greater susceptibility to illness. The upshot? More reasons to avoid steroid epidural injections!

Chris Centeno, MD

Regenexx Founder

Chris Centeno, MD is a specialist in regenerative medicine and the new field of Interventional Orthopedics. Centeno pioneered orthopedic stem cell procedures in 2005 and is responsible for a large amount of the published research on stem cell use for orthopedic applications.
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Regenerative procedures are commonly used to treat musculoskelatal trauma, overuse injuries, and degenerative issues, including failed surgeries.
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Many Shoulder and Rotator Cuff injuries are good candidates for regenerative treatments. Before considering shoulder arthroscopy or shoulder replacement, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.

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Knees are the target of many common sports injuries. Sadly, they are also the target of a number of surgeries that research has frequently shown to be ineffective or minimally effective. Knee arthritis can also be a common cause for aging athletes to abandon the sports and activities they love. Regenerative procedures can be used to treat a wide range of knee injuries and conditions. They can even be used to reduce pain and delay knee replacement for more severe arthritis.

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Many spine injuries and degenerative conditions are good candidates for regenerative treatments and there are a number of studies showing promising results in treating a wide range of spine problems. Spine surgery should be a last resort for anyone, due to the cascade of negative effects it can have on the areas surrounding the surgery. And epidural steroid injections are problematic due to their long-term negative impact on bone density.

  • Herniated, Bulging, Protruding Discs
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
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Hip injuries and degenerative conditions become more common with age. Do to the nature of the joint, it’s not quite as easy to injure as a knee, but it can take a beating and pain often develops over time. Whether a hip condition is acute or degenerative, regenerative procedures can help reduce pain and may help heal injured tissue, without the complications of invasive surgical hip procedures.

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Foot & Ankle

Foot and ankle injuries are common in athletes. These injuries can often benefit from non-surgical regenerative treatments. Before considering surgery, consider an evaluation of your condition with a regenerative treatment specialist.
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