Q. I have stenosis in my spine, degenerative back disease and arthritis. Some days I can walk for awhile but most of the time walking and normal activities are very painful. I hate steroid shots. The benefit seems short lived and I worry about long-term side effects.
Are there any home remedies that might be helpful for the inflammation and pain that has interfered with my ability to get around?
A. We understand your concern about steroid side effects. Doctors seem to think that when they inject a corticosteroid into the spine or a joint (hips, knees, elbows or shoulders) that it says put. We strongly suspect that corticosteroids migrate into the surrounding bone and increase the risk for weakening and osteoporosis, thereby increasing the underlying problems. People with arthritis of the joint do not need to have the bone become weaker. One expert in the field once told us that steroids “melt bone,” and we think he was not far off with that vivid description.
Other side effects of injected cortisone or other corticosteroids include:
INJECTABLE STEROID SIDE EFFECTS
- Fluid retention, edema, sodium retention
- Headache, dizziness
- Anxiety, nervousness, irritability, insomnia
- Increased blood pressure
- Increased blood sugar (glucose)
- Muscle weakness
- Loss of potassium
- Infection, immune system suppression
- Osteopenia, osteoporosis
When it comes to home remedies, there is not a lot that can ease the pressure on nerves caused by spinal stenosis or bony narrowing of the spinal column. A general anti-inflammatory regimen does make sense, however. Some of the remedies we generally recommend to ease inflammation include:
- Tart cherries
- Olive oil
- Vitamin D
- Gin-soaked raisins
- Certo & grape juice
- Apple cider vinegar, apple & grape juice
- Fish oil & green-lipped mussels
We hope one or more of the remedies we have suggested will be helpful for easing your discomfort. And do keep your eyes peeled for a People’s Pharmacy update. There is a new study that will be published in a couple of days revealing some scary information about the long-term consequences of steroid shots in the spine.