An Article About Cervical Injections That We’ve Got Real Concerns About

Be wary of this one . . .

Editor’s Note: Sometimes at CORRelations, we’ll cover an article we think is likely to cross your desk, but is one whose message we have reservations about. Here’s one. — SSL

What’s the Claim?

A large-database study suggested that cervical steroid injections were not associated with a delay in cervical spine surgery for myelopathy, and patients who received an injection had higher odds of undergoing subsequent surgery within one year and at all points examined out to five years. The authors concluded, somewhat immodestly, “Therefore injections should not be used to prevent surgical management of DCM [degenerative cervical myelopathy].”

Leaving aside that “surgical management” is a medical decision, and not a medical outcome that no intervention in particular can “prevent,” and leaving aside the loose use of cause-effect language in a study design that can speak only to association (not causation), the study has real problems for other reasons.

How’s It Stack Up?