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Medical News & Perspectives
April 25, 2007

Epidurals’ Benefit for Back Pain Questioned

JAMA. 2007;297(16):1757-1758. doi:10.1001/jama.297.16.1757

Although giving epidural corticosteroid injections to treat back pain with sciatica has been an increasingly common practice over the past 50 years, the American Academy of Neurology said that a review of the literature indicates that the procedure may have little or no benefit outside of a 2- to 6-week window following treatment (Armon C et al. Neurology. 2007;68:723-729).

Additional studies are needed, but based on the available evidence, the academy has stated that epidural steroid injections for improving function, avoiding surgery, or providing long-term pain relief for patients with radiating back pain are not recommended.