Steroid Injections: Do They Cause More Harm Than Good? - Release Works Myofascial Therapy
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Steroid Injections: Do They Cause More Harm Than Good?


Steroid injections are frequently used for treatment of joint pain, osteoarthritis, bursitis, tendinitis, plantar fasciitis, and sciatica.

I’ve had discussions about steroid injections with family members in the past, and opinions concerning their effectiveness have always been mixed. My mom swears by them, claiming a steroid injection did wonders for her shoulder when a bone spur started shredding the muscle. My brother, on the other hand, experienced no benefit after trying a steroid injection twice for back pain. And my husband has no desire to ever have a steroid injection again for plantar fasciitis. He says that was the most painful thing he has ever experienced. He couldn’t walk for several days!

It has certainly been questioned whether or not steroid injections provide any lasting form of pain relief. The Cochrane Review (2015) reports there is no lasting effect of steroid injections after 6 months. Another study shows, after 12 months, study participants who received steroid injections for back pain were similar to those who did not receive injections, experiencing

  • Disc inflammation
  • Lower quality or life
  • More anxiety and depression (than people without back pain), and
  • Continued use of non-narcotic pills.

More disturbing than the lack of effectiveness or longevity, though, is the growing evidence that steroid injections may be causing more harm than good.

Have you ever wondered why doctors limit steroid injections to no more than 3-4 a year?

A study in Radiology notes patients who received steroid injections experienced faster progression of their osteoarthritis, rapid joint destruction, and bone loss. A 2-year study published by the Journal of American Medicine Association showed participants getting steroid injections had greater knee cartilage loss than those who didn’t get injections, and NO significant decrease in pain levels. And the Mayo clinic lists the top 4 risk factors for steroid injections as cartilage damage, death of the nearby bone, joint infection, and nerve damage.

The risk of bone, cartilage, and damage to the joint structure cannot be ignored in exchange for something that offers the possibility for quick pain relief.

Especially when that quick pain relief is little more than a band-aid aimed at reducing inflammation. It does nothing to address what is causing the inflammation in the first place. And do not fool yourself, despite how good you might feel after a steroid injection, there can be no lasting relief without also addressing the cause of the problem.

That’s where we come in. Back pain is something we see all the time in our clinic. And we know it is possible to recover a back that is strong and feels good, without the harmful effects of steroid injections. It isn’t difficult to do once you stop ignoring and avoiding problems, or putting band-aids on them, and start properly addressing the connective tissue system of the body.

Our recovery programs will help you

  • Re-set the autonomic nervous system, get you out of crisis, spasm and ‘fight or flight’, and address the protective bracing system keeping you stuck
  • Restore the fluidity and plasticity of the connective tissue system, addressing tissue throughout the whole body that is restricted, knotted, tight, stuck, glued, adhered, thick, or hard, and
  • Retrain movement and strength in a more proper alignment utilizing corrective exercises and postural adaptation as you work through layers of restrictions and habits

If you would like to learn more about how you can recover a back that is strong and feels good while avoiding the harmful effects of steroid injections


“Intradiscal Glucocorticoid Injection for Patients With Chronic Low Back Pain Associated With Active Discopathy”. Christelle Nguyen, M.D., Ph.D., Byron Schneider M.D.; Annals of Internal Medicine: March 20, 2017

“Intra-articular Corticosteroid Injections in the Hip and Knee: Perhaps Not as Safe as We Thought?” Radiology VOL. 293, NO. 3, Published Online: Oct 15 2019

“Effect of Intra-articular Triamcinolone vs Saline on Knee Cartilage Volume and Pain in Patients With Knee Osteoarthritis: A Randomized Clinical Trial.”, JAMA. 2017 May 16;317(19):1967-1975. doi: 10.1001/jama.2017.5283

“Cortisone Shots.” Mayo Clinic.

Vanetta Servoss

Vanetta Servoss

Specialist Myofascial Release Therapist Vanetta loves her work as a myofascial release therapist! She was introduced to myofascial release as a client struggling with debilitating headaches, dizziness, pain, and muscle tension. Traditional medicine did little to provide relief, and it wasn't until she began seeing a mfr therapist that she started seeing change. She knows first hand how it feels to be trapped in pain with little hope for recovery. Or to be given a diagnostic label like fibromyalgia with little recourse other than dependence on prescription medications. She no longer believes those are the only options available to those struggling with pain or loss of mobility, and credits mfr with helping her get her life back. She considers it a privilege to assist others in their journey. Vanetta's formal education includes an undergraduate degree from Brigham Young University and a Master's degree in Health Promotion from Mississippi State University. She is also a licensed massage therapist and has trained extensively in the John Barnes' Myofascial Release approach. Vanetta loves to travel and explore other places. She now enjoys that active lifestyle she once thought was no longer possible, and can frequently be found outside enjoying the sunshine and hiking the trails of Utah, Idaho, and Arizona.
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