Spinal Injuries Due to Unnecessary Steroid Injections Rising
Each day in the United States, thousands of people undergo injections in their necks or lower backs with steroids. These injections are meant to be given just above the "dura" of the spinal cord. The dura is a tough covering over the spinal cord and within it is the spinal cord itself--which is very fragile and critical to proper functioning of every human being.
Although this procedure is extremely common and is often required by insurance companies before people with back pain can get surgery to fix their back issues, it is NOT approved by the Federal Drug Administration. There is also growing recognition that epidural steroid injections don't do much good--and can result in terrible injuries and even death if they are done wrong.
When Epidural Steroid Injections Are Done Wrong
Because these injections are done so near the spinal cord, when doctors are negligent in performing the injections, the results can be catastrophic. We have had clients who had their spinal cords punctured by negligent doctors, and clients who developed tears in the dura covering their spinal cords, leading to leaks of spinal fluid. We have had clients who developed spinal hematomas--bleeding on the spinal cord. In all of these cases, the result was a lifetime of pain and disability--all for a procedure that has very limited value and high risk.
In spite of the evidence that these injections have very little value, they are done in great numbers and doctors across the country are paid millions of dollars to perform them. Insurance companies may not even allow a patient to get back surgery to fix an injury unless they try having a steroid injection first. Thus many patients with back pain have no choice: they must submit to these dangerous injections in order to get the back surgery that they require. Unfortunately, when the doctors performing these injections make a mistake, the damage caused is often much worse than the problem that the patient was being treated for in the first place.