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Steroid Injections: Bad Medicine

In medical school, I was trained to inject steroids into arthritic joints. The steroids did provide some relief from arthritic pain. I was taught that three injections per joint were safe and would cause no harm.

 

Well, chalk that up to being taught another wrong thing in medical school.

 

A study in the October 15, 2019 edition of Radiology looked at data from over 450 patients who received intra-articular steroid injections for osteoarthritis at Boston University. The researchers found steroid joint injections speed up arthritis and worsen joint destruction.

 

“We are now seeing these {steroid} injections can be very harmful to the joints with serious complications such as osteonecrosis, subchondral insufficiency fracture, and rapid progressive osteoarthritis,” the lead author of the study reported. (1)

 

The first-line conventional treatment for osteoarthritis is the use of non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). Guess what? NSAIDs also worsen osteoarthritis and cause other health issues like kidney failure and gastrointestinal bleeding. The second-line treatment, for well over 30 years, has been steroid injections.

 

What a mess!!

 

I cringe at the steroid injections I gave my patients. For those patients, you have my sincerest apologies. I did not know any better, but I should have.

 

This study was not a randomized, prospective study. Therefore, it cannot be conclusively stated that intra-articular steroid injections caused the problems I mentioned above. However, knowing how steroids work, it does not take an advanced degree to predict that injecting steroids into an arthritic joint will worsen arthritis as well as cause other serious problems.

 

Should you ever get an intra-articular steroid injection? No! There are safer options out there. I and my partners have been using ozone injections to successfully treat arthritis for years. Ozone is more effective and safer than steroid injections. Ozone is an optimal choice for treating a painful, arthritic joint.

 

Below is a picture of an 80-year-old female’s arthritic knee on the left. You can see bone-on bone arthritis on the left side of the joint.  The patient was recommended to have a knee replacement. After three ozone shots (3 weeks later), the patient claimed that all her arthritic symptoms were gone. The follow-up X-ray (right) shows increased joint space in the knee.  I have seen numerous patients who have improved their arthritic condition with the help of intra-articular ozone injections.  At the Center for Holistic Medicine, all the practitioners are trained on how to use ozone injections to help arthritic joints.

 

 

More information about ozone can be found in my book, Ozone: The Miracle Therapy.

 

Author Info

David Brownstein, M.D.

Comments ( 48 )

  • Author Icon
    Barbara McColley-Bolan

    This explains my left knee getting worse, and my back. Wish I had access to the ozone, doubt my insurance would pay anyway. It’s mind boggling how big Pharma, causes more damage than good in so many cases. How I wish I could run again.

  • Author Icon
    Cynde Gudenau

    How about a meniscus tear? MY husband had it drained twice and is wearing a brace. 4 months later it has not filled up but still feels weak. He was told he has some arthritis.

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    Jackie McMillan

    Hi Dr Brownstein,

    My daughter-in-law is 27 and has peripheral neuropathy in both her feet. She is working with a naturalistic chiropractor and is getting some relief.
    Would ozone injections help?
    Thanks!

  • Author Icon
    Erin ROGG

    Can Ozone injections be used for osteoarthritis of the hip?

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    Judith Sturm

    I received a cortizone into my hand near the base of my thumb to treat my trigger thumb. It got gradually better for about 4 months when it seemed nearly normal. A week or 2 later I irritated it by pressing on something. It is now not as bad as it originally was, but it seems to be slowly worsening. The doctor told me I could get a second cortizone injection if the first was not effective enough. Should I consider that? Or is there a better treatment?

    Thanks in advance for any suggestion you may have.
    Judy Sturm

    • Author Icon

      Judith,
      Re-read my post. Cortisone shots weaken tissues. They should be avoided. Ozone could be considered here.
      DrB

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    Bonnie Camo MD

    Can anything help compression fractures of the vertebrae?

    • Author Icon

      Dr. Bonnie,
      Strengthening the bones can help with a holistic protocol such as using vitamins D and K, mineral support, ozone injections, and optimizing the diet.
      DrB

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    Elizabeth

    I did Prolozone injections after I injured my back doing too many handstands. I did a series of 4 and loved the results. Do you like adding homeoptathics to ozone to make a prolozone injection?
    If so, is it something you might add as an option at the Center?

    Thanks,
    Elizabeth

    • Author Icon

      Elizabeth,
      Glad you had such good results! Yes, we have added homeopathics to the injections with excellent responses.
      DrB

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    Danielle Evans

    Hello Dr. B.
    My husband has a partial rotator cuff tear. Are ozone shots effective as a treatment to heal this condition as opposed to surgery or is it solely for Arthritis?
    Thanks,
    Danielle Evans 🙂

    • Author Icon
      Louise Bakley

      Hi all

      Remember Homeopathy is well worth exploring.

  • Author Icon
    Anne Thompson

    How about shoulder injuries? I have a worsening shoulder condition (losing all range of motion gradually), I have an appt in December, but don’t want surgery or a steroid shot. Would I be a candidate for ozone treatment?

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    Steve

    Wow, I have never heard of this. Great article. I will definitely look into this type of treatment!

  • Author Icon
    Ly

    Can ozone help with re-growing cartilage?

    • Author Icon

      Ly,
      That is the million dollar question. We are not sure on that one. But, my patients improvements may point to that.
      DrB

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        ILona

        It is so refreshing to be able to hear the full truth on medical treatments for specific illnesses and their drug solution limitations + side effects. But most importantly, we need to know and educate others by sharing the GREAT HOLISTIC / NATUROPATHIC alternative therapies and solutions to these same problems which you Dr. B. so caringly devulge! In my case, I was wondering if ozone therapy could help heal a 5mm tear in my left shoulder supraspinatus tendon that I have been slowly treating with chiropractics & physiotherapy for the past year? The pain eventually subsided but sleep deprivation has been a long struggle due to the positioning of my arm while trying to sleep only on my back.

        • Author Icon

          Ilona,
          Ozone does help with rotator cuff problems. It works better if the tear is not a complete tear.
          DrB

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    Paula

    If you’re talking about prolozone, I had 2 ozone shots with no benefit at all. I also had 2 stem cell shots in the same knee with no improvement prior to the ozone. Perhaps you could expand on the possible reasons. I’ve been told about exosomes which are supposed to be the next step. How do I know if this would work?

    • Author Icon

      Paula,
      I never claimed any therapy is 100% effective. Ozone has helped about 80% of my patients with knee and hip problems. I cannot predict whether exosomes will help or not.
      DrB

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    Helene Last

    what about in the hips? would ozone work? i see Dr, Nusbaum.

      • Author Icon
        Raymond Ferreira

        Is prolozone injections the same as ozone injections?

        • Author Icon

          Raymond,
          Prolozone utilizes procaine and some other vitamins and minerals as part of the mixture.

          I have found little difference in efficacy between Prolozone and ozone shots.
          DrB

  • Author Icon
    Tasha

    Interesting! Thx for the info! Any side effects to ozone injections?

    • Author Icon

      Tasha,
      I have not seen too many problems beyond a little discomfort as it is going in. There is always a risk of infection, bleeding and clots with any injection.
      DrB

  • Author Icon
    Kathy Fischbach

    how do we find practitioners who are trained to inject ozone into arthritic joints?

    • Author Icon

      Kathy,
      That is not easy. I am not aware of a central data base. The best way is to look at holistic medical groups then call the offices.
      DrB

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    Barbara

    Can ozone help degenerative disc disease of the spine? Is there a place in Connecticut, NY , R. Island or Mass. to get the injections?

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    ROBERT M. GOMEZ

    ARE TESTOSTERONE INJECTIONS SAFE FOR AN 82 YR OLD MAN ?

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    Suzanne

    Ozone is good for a lot of other things as well. Dr. Robert Rowen, a holistic doctor, went over to Africa and was successful using it for Ebola but because the African gov’t is tied to Pharma like ours is, he wasn’t allowed to use it for more than a few cases.

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    Chris

    Surprised to read that American medical schools teach this without a caveat.
    When going to physical therapy/osteopathy school, over 25 years ago in Germany, we were already taught the very dark side of injecting steroids into joints.
    American medicine is so different …and I truly hate every single doctor visit I go to in the USA….sorry to say.

    • Author Icon
      Vivian

      What is recommended in Germany? I have been watching Europe and their recommendations for their citizens. I think they do much better job. In USA, I think we are being misdirected.

  • Author Icon
    Margretta Stone

    Greetings Dr. Brownstein,
    Can ozone be injected into the MTP, the large joint of the large toe?
    What kind of provider should I look for?
    Thank you,
    Margretta

  • Author Icon

    I used hydrocortisone cream for 5 years on my feet as prescribed by a doctor, from age 13 to 18. It led to an infection and bone degeneration in my lower back called osteomyelitis. Left me with arthritis and 25 years of back pain, and bone spurs in my lumbar discks. Today, I’m 49, and totally pain free. I did it by drinking a green smoothie and found isometric stretching, where I would flex the stretched out muscles in my body all over. This healed everything, no matter how I was injured.

    • Author Icon
      Linda Lomma

      Jason Hommel –

      When you said stretched out muscles, were you referring to muscles that had been stretched from an injury? If yes, your comment will bring hope to a friend of mine 😁

      Linda

  • Author Icon
    Katya Ward

    Good job Dr. Brownstein ! Can you do on arthritic pelvic ? My daughter has foot drop because of that.

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