Research: Are Doctors Ordering Spinal Injections When They Know They Don’t Work?

Tuesday, May 12th, 2015
The reason we’re talking about epidural spinal injections is because we see patients every day that have either undergone these injections or are contemplating going through with them. The average chiropractor has years of indirect experience with these injections and their supposed benefits or lack thereof.

I would guess that most chiropractors could tell you right away what the results of this new research are prior to even reading it but we’ll go through it just to make sure we are stating the case clearly and concisely. It still boggles my mind how some in the medical field chastise Doctors of Chiropractic. They like to show all of the research that proves that medicine works in various conditions however tend to completely ignore the mountain of evidence proving the effectiveness of chiropractors and the solid research that proves the ineffectiveness of one of their big money-makers. How can you let research prove one thing that benefits you yet ignore research when it does not?

And it’s the medical associations, statewide and nationally, that aim to control and monopolize healthcare. It’s either hypocrisy or arrogance. Probably both.


Considering the frequency with which epidural spinal injections are being used to control low back pain and radiating, shooting pain into legs, the authors felt it necessary to review the current evidence of the benefits and harms to these injections. Particularly the injections in the epidural space, the facet joints, and the sacroiliac regions. 


The researcher used the following sources:

  • Systematic review of searches through July 2008
  • Electronic databases from January 2008 through October 2014
  • Reference lists
  • Clinical trials registries
  1. They selected randomized trials of patients having lumbosacral radiating pain, spinal stenosis, pain that did not run into the leg(s), or more chronic back pain after a surgery. 
  2. These research abstracts compared how effective the injections were vs. a placebo.


  • In regards to RADICULOPATHY (Shooting pain into a leg or both legs) the only improvement noted was for pain at the immediate followup, improvement in function at immediate foully, and decreased risk of surgery at immediate followup. 
  • The effects were SMALL and did not meet the requirement for them to be minimally important.
  • There was NO BENEFIT in long term followup. 
  • In regards to the injection itself, it did not seem to matter what technique was used.
  • In regards to SPINAL STENOSIS, there was limited evidence for any effectiveness and showed no differences in pain, function, or likelihood of surgery. 
  • In regards to the FACET JOINT, there was no clear effectiveness. 


For radiating pain/symptoms, epidural corticosteroid injections had only immediate effectiveness in regards to function, pain, and likelihood of surgery. However, the benefits were small, unsustained, and having no effect at all on long-term risk of surgery. 

The citation for this research abstract is found below:
Pain Management Injection Therapies for Low Back Pain [Internet].Editors Chou RHashimoto RFriedly JFu RDana TSullivan SBougatsos CJarvik J
SourceRockville (MD): Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (US); 2015 Mar. 
AHRQ Technology Assessments.

Just another reason to call a chiropractor TODAY

Research and clinical experience shows that, in about 80%-90% of headaches, neck, and back pain, in comparison to the traditional medical model, patients get good or excellent results with Chiropractic. Chiropractic care is safe, more cost-effective, it decreases your chances of having surgery, and it reduces your chances of becoming disabled.  We do this conservatively and non-surgically. In addition, we can do it with minimal time requirements and minimal hassle on the part of the patient. And, if the patient develops a “preventative” mindset going forward from initial recovery, we can likely keep it that way while raising your general, overall level of health!  

We have seen time and time again the amazing effectiveness of chiropractic for issues such as neck out of alignment, hips out of alignment, back alignment, lower back alignment hip out of alignment, back out of alignment, etc… We have just about seen it all. 

Please feel free to leave a comment and tell me your thoughts. I’d love to hear what you think. 

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Till next time……

The Amarillo Chiropractor Blog is written by Dr. Jeff Williams.

Amarillo TX Amarillo Pain & Accident Chiropractic Clinic provides customized chiropractic care to the Amarillo, Canyon, Pampa, Happy, White Deer, Dumas, Groom, Conway, Panhandle, Claude, Clarendon, Borger, Tulia, Hereford, Fritch, Bushland, and Vega communities. Visit our main website at for customized Chiropractic in Amarillo TX.

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by Jeff S. Williams, D.C.
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