Epidural steroid injections are a common treatment for back pain -- but now a new study suggests the procedure works no better than a shot of the local anesthetic lidocaine.
Researchers at the University of Washington studied 400 back and leg pain patients who had spinal stenosis, which is a common cause of this type of pain.
They were given either an epidural steroid injection with lidocaine, or a lidocaine injection alone.
After six weeks they found both groups had improved symptoms, but there was no significant difference in pain level or function between the two.
The researchers say steroid injections are associated with risks and that patients should make sure lidocaine injections are discussed as an option.