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.


By Dr David Brownstein / Holistic Family Physician

Dr. David Brownstein is a Board-Certified family physician and is one of the foremost practitioners of holistic medicine. He is the Medical Director of the Center for Holistic Medicine in West Bloomfield, MI. Dr. Brownstein has lectured internationally to physicians and others about his success in using natural hormones and nutritional therapies in his practice. He is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Wayne State University School of Medicine. Dr. Brownstein is a member of the American Academy of Family Physicians and the American College for the Advancement in Medicine. He is the father of two beautiful girls, Hailey and Jessica, and is a retired soccer coach.

Dr. Brownstein has received two prestigious awards by his colleagues. The first was given by the American College for the Advancement in Medicine at the 2005 annual meeting. The award was the Norman E. Clarke Sr. Award for Science and Practice. The second award was given by the American Academy of Integrative Medicine at their 2005 annual meeting in Florida. This was titled, 2005 ARC Excellence Award for Distinguished Clinician for his “Advancement in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Chronic Diseases.”

(Source:; October 26, 2019;
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