Steroid Shots Provide Only Temporary Pain Relief for Back Pain

October 23, 2015 in STSMPT

Even though many Americans get steroid shots for back pain, a new study published in Annals of Internal Medicine finds that the shots have no long-term benefits and the pain relief is only temporary.(1) Researchers analyzed data from 38 placebo controlled trials. Thirty of these were steroid injection studies that included individuals with sciatica (back pain that radiates to the legs, often caused by a herniated disc pinching on the nerve) while the other eight were for spinal stenosis (narrowing of the space in the spinal canal that houses the nerves).


Steroid shots were associated with immediate reduction in pain. However, the benefits were small and only temporary. The study shows no effectiveness of the injection for spinal stenosis patients. In addition, steroid shots did not decrease the likelihood of surgery for the study participants.


Treatment for low back pain must be more than making the pain subside for a while. We can help give you the guidance and knowledge you need to truly overcome back pain long-term. Physical therapy programs have been shown to have valuable effects in terms of accelerating pain relief, reducing healthcare expenses, and reducing recurrence.(2,3)



  1. Chou R, Hashimoto R, Friedly J, et al. Epidural corticosteroid injections for radiculopathy and spinal stenosis: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Annals of Internal Medicine, 2015; 163 (5): 373-381.
  2. Fritz J, Childs J, Wainner R, Flynn T. Primary care referral of patients with low back pain to physical therapy: impact on future health care utilization and costs. Spine, 2012; 37 (25): 2114-2121.
  3. Gelhorn A, Chan L, Martin B, Friedly J. Management patterns in acute low back pain: the role of physical therapy. Spine, 2012; 37 (9): 775-782.

Back Pain Steriod Shots

Print Friendly