Medical Center Says Epidural Steroid Injections Still Safe For Chronic Back Pain

Wednesday, 14 Nov 2012, 5:58:00 AM

Mirror Staff

Pain Management and Injury Relief (PMIR) Medical Center, a Santa Monica-based pain management medical practice, seeks to reassure the public that in wake of the recent, nationally recognized meningitis outbreak, patients suffering from chronic back pain should still seek treatment of the epidural steroid injections.

The American Chronic Pain Association (ACPA) states that more than 100 million Americans suffer from chronic pain. Due to decreased wages and lost productivity, chronic pain costs the United States more than $560 billion annually.

The recent meningitis outbreak tied to the New England Compounding Center of Framingham, MA supplying contaminated medications has instilled fear and concerns in patients recommended to have the epidural steroid injection, commonly used to treat chronic back pain.

Dr. Alexander P. Hersel, of Pain Management and Injury Relief Medical Center in Santa Monica, said the safety of its patients was his number one priority.

“Our goal is to inform the public that this procedure has been, and remains, safe and effective for treating chronic back pain, and the outbreak is not reflective of a physician's expertise as a pain management specialist,” said Dr. Hersel, a UCLA-trained physician with a near-decade of experience.

Hersel said he has administered thousands of epidural steroid injections safely, and his patients have experienced significant relief from the procedure.

“I feel very fortunate that our patients have not been affected by this horrible circumstance, and I feel compelled to raise public awareness that the efficacy and safety of the epidural steroid procedure remains,” he said. “It is unfortunate that I must reassure my patients who are suffering from chronic pain not to fear a minimally-invasive option that is highly beneficial.”

PMIR Medical Center uses steroid medication from PSS World Medical, Inc., whose medical supplies “are not compounded products, only pharmaceuticals from FDA approved manufacturers,” according to Mike Abney, Vice President Supplier Management of PSS World Medical, Inc.

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