In an interview with the Health Channel, Dr. Jonathan Gottlieb, Orthopedic Surgeon with Baptist Health South Florida, explains how steroids can be used to ease persistent back pain. Steroids are often used as a treatment after several other options are considered.
Dr. Gottlieb suggests that most people can take over the counter back pain medication as needed for extended periods of time. However, nonsteroidals can cause problems for people with stomach or kidney issues. If you are taking blood thinners, nonsteroidal medication may even have an unforeseen interaction with them. Dr. Gottlieb advises that those who are on blood thinners should first contact their physician before starting over the counter nonsteroidal medications.
Dr. Gottlieb explains that these over the counter methods can be helpful in reducing emergency room visits. “It’s not that we don’t want patients to call us when they have this back pain, but they don’t need to go through the ER. Very often it can be handled over the phone and if there’s any question, contact your primary care physician or see an orthopedist,” Dr. Gottlieb recommends.
Dr. Gottlieb states that if the pain has not lessened after the first one or two weeks of using over the counter methods , he recommends trying something different, “whether it’s adding a steroid, or a muscle relaxant, or something else.” If the symptoms are getting worse in that one to two week period, the doctor says that he may even initiate a further workup and maybe get x-rays, even if normally he would want to wait four to six weeks to do so.
The use of steroids does not require a lot of prerequisite testing in order to be prescribed. The doctor says that, for example, if you have a disc herniation, most of the time you can recover without the need for surgery using steroids. Steroids are good for someone who has a couple weeks of symptoms in the back or even some cases of mild symptoms affecting the legs. “We don’t necessarily have to get an MRI prior to treating somebody. We would get an MRI if they’re not getting better over time, or if the symptoms are progressive,” Dr. Gottlieb explains.
Watch the full segment of Dr. Jonathan Gottlieb explaining how and when steroids are used for back pain, here: https://youtu.be/nyTOQw0FpHQ