Steroid injections for back pain are more common than you may think.
Experts say that steroid injections are much more effective at easing painful inflammation than pills.
Dr. Douglas Cutter, a primary sports care physician with CJW Sports Medicine, says prescribing steroid shots for back pain is highly effective, since the discomfort can be crippling.
"I'll probably prescribe this (steroid shot) anywhere from four to six times a week," said Dr. Cutter.
Cutter says the meningitis outbreak linked to the injections is certainly not typical for the procedure. "It's unusual. This is not a common thing. It's sad."
The steroids are believed to have been contaminated with Aspergillos. The fungus then results in a rare form of meningitis that could be deadly.
The outbreak may influence more patients to incorporate other practices of soothing pain - like seeing a chiropractor or undergoing acupuncture.
John Kang of Richmond Acupuncture and Wellness says his treatment can help a range of back problems.
"We deal with back problems all the time. So we have people coming in with ruptured disks. We have people coming in with back spasms," said Kang.
Kang says acupuncture offers relief without side effects of other medicines.
"It's very low risk. Your chance of catching something like meningitis is next to zero."
Still, medical doctors say the outbreak is unfortunate, but very uncommon. Acupuncture can also be used to treat muscle spasms in the back, or pinched nerves.
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