Many recent studies looked at the efficacy of steroid injections for back pain. Patients suffering from back pain often receive steroid injections, looking for long-term relief. But these studies show that the injections do not provide permanent relief and not allow patients to avoid surgery if really needed in their case. Injections merely mask the problem rather than fix it, while surgery and even exercise therapy are the only real options for long-term relief. Placebo studies showed that real injections do provide immediate relief from pain and improvements in function, the benefits were minute and did not last longer than a few weeks. For some patients, there was no relief at all. Patients view injections as an alternative to surgery, particularly when the idea of surgery scares them, but doctors realize now that injections are not really an alternative so much as a delay in getting the patient what they really need and what will actually help them - surgery.