Chiropractic vs. Epidural Injections for Disc Herniation in Florham Park

If you're searching for conservative relief of back pain, you may be wondering whether you should opt for epidural injections or chiropractic care in Florham Park.

Lumbar epidural injections are a common treatment for back pain and sciatica caused by lumbar disc herniation and spinal stenosis. The procedure involves an injection of high doses of pain medication, and sometimes steroids, into the lumbar spine around the damaged nerve. The treatment continues to be controversial due to a lack of study with placebo controls as well as questions about the potential risks associated with steroids such as decreased bone mineral density and increased fracture risk in the elderly. Lumbar epidural steroid injections gained attention earlier this year due to a meningitis outbreak tied to an infected batch of epidural steroid injections.

For patients searching for a more natural method of back pain relief, chiropractic care could help. A new study compared the effects of spinal manipulative therapy (SMT) and epidural nerve root injections (NRI). A total of 102 patients with MRI-confirmed lumbar disc herniation received either SMT or NRI. Spinal manipulation, frequently referred to as a chiropractic adjustment, is commonly used by chiropractors to correct spinal dysfunctions causing back pain.


After one month of treatment, a greater portion of SMT patients reported feeling "much better" or "better" compared to the NRI patients (76.5% versus 62.7%). Overall, 60% of patients treated with chiropractic adjustments had significantly reduced pain, compared to 53% of NRI patients. These differences were not considered statistically significant, leading researchers to conclude that both treatments were equally effective.

However, researchers also found that NRI patients tended to spend more money on their medical care than the chiropractic patients ($558 versus $729 for one month of treatment). This cost estimate did not include the additional costs frequently tacked onto epidural injection treatment including consultations with clinicians, multiple injections, and possible surgery. On the other hand, chiropractic patients in this study may have had higher cost than the average chiropractic patient since they were required to obtain MRI imaging; a practice that is not considered necessary in most cases and is frequently omitted to reduce costs in chiropractic care. Additionally, three of the NRI patients ended up opting for surgery, while none of the chiropractic patients did.

This study demonstrates that patients with lumbar disc herniation can experience substantial relief from chiropractic adjustments, with fewer costs and risks than epidural injections. Florham Park chiropractor Dr. Rivano can offer safe, effective relief of disc herniation through chiropractic adjustments, exercise rehabilitation, and soft tissue therapies. These treatments facilitate healing in the damaged spinal discs rather than masking the symptoms. Schedule an appointment with Rivano Chiropractic Health Center for relief from disc herniation in Florham Park today.


DeVita Raeburn E. Spine injections may set stage for fractures. Medpage Today. June 7, 2013. Accessed June 13, 2013.

Mandel S, et al. A retrospective analysis of vertebral body fractures following epidural steroid injections. Journal of Bone and Spine Surgery 2013; 95: 961-964.

Schoenfeld AJ. Commentary on an article by Shlomo Mandel, MD, MPH, et al. “A retrospective analysis of vertebral body fractures following epidural steroid injections.” Journal of Bone and Spine Surgery 2013; 95: e78(1-2).