(NEW YORK) — A small study suggests that older women who get steroid injections in the spine to treat lower back pain may be at risk for bone loss in their hips, Health Day reports.
Although anti-inflammatory steroid medications used to treat diseases like asthma and rheumatoid arthritis are known to decrease a person’s bone mass over time, it hasn’t been clear whether steroid shots, which can be used to treat lower back pain, are connected to bone loss, Health Day says.
In this study, a team of researchers tracked bone-density changes in 28 women who chose steroid injections to treat their back pain and compared their findings with a control group of women who were about the same age. Researchers found that women in the steroid group lost six times more bone mass in the hip than the control group did, even though they said the absolute decrease was “slight,” and the extent to which the treatment alone is to blame for bone loss is not clear, according to Health Day.
The findings were reported in the Dec. 1 issue of the journal Spine.
Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio
Debra Goldschmidt and Nadia Kounang, CNN
David Shortell, CNN
Meera Senthilingam, CNN