I injured my back lifting too much weight at work. An MRI showed that one of the discs in my spine herniated. To avoid surgery, the doctor has recommended steroid injections. What's the thinking behind using a medication like this for a damaged disc?

Studies have shown that when a disc has been injured, there is an inflammatory process that follows. Chemicals that are part of this process irritate the nerve.

Steroids are known to alter or stop the effects of these irritating chemicals. Steroids can even block pain signals. A new method has been developed to inject medication directly into the site of inflammation. This method can reduce pain and increase motion, sometimes preventing more involved surgery.