About 80 percent of people experience chronic back pain at some point in their life. Back pain is actually the main contributor to missed days at work and job-related disabilities.
However, there are ways to treat back pain without surgical intervention.
Continue reading to learn more about epidural steroid injections, how they’re performed and what they can do for your back pain:
What is an epidural steroid injection?
Epidural steroid injections are a common treatment for inflammation, low back pain and arm pain caused by the neck. In fact, these types of injections are primarily used to treat spinal nerve inflammation due to narrowed passages along the spinal canal The spinal passages are where nerves travel down or outside of the spine. When compressed, symptoms can range from mild tingling to debilitating pain.
Why would I get an epidural steroid injection?
Spinal passage narrowing is caused by a variety of things such as herniated discs, bone spurs, joint cysts and thick ligaments. The epidural space, also known as a “sleeve” filled with fat. It’s what surrounds the spinal sac and gives the spinal cord and nerves its cushioning. The steroidal injection contains a very powerful anti-inflammatory, which reduces pain and improves motor functions.
However, the steroids will not change the underlying condition. They will only allow your body to compensate for it.
How is an epidural steroid injection performed?
There are three ways the injection can be administered. First, in order to put the needle into the proper position, doctors have to rely on an x-ray for guidance. Before the initial injection, doctors will use a contrast dye to make sure the steroid travels to the right place. Furthermore, an anesthetic is often administered to relieve as much pain as possible.
The three types of epidural injections are classified as interlaminar, caudal and transforaminal. The first one is simple; a needle is inserted into your back to deliver the steroid to a wider area. The second one, caucal, works a bit differently. Instead of injecting the needle into your upper back, it is placed in a small opening in the tailbone called the sacral hiatus.
The final type of injection is performed via a transforaminal approach where steroids are injected near the exiting nerve root spine to put the steroid into the nerve sleeve. This is often called a nerve block.
After the injection, it will take at least one to three days before it starts to work. In rare cases, it can take up to a week. Don’t be alarmed if you feel a slight increase in pain after the procedure as it’s completely normal.
Things to Consider
One thing to keep in mind is that not everyone has symptomatic relief from epidural steroid injections. However, many do experience a reduction in pain and improvement in functionality. Before considering epidural steroid injections, consult with your physician about the pros, cons and what treatment can do for you.
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Advanced Spine Centers
1705 Ohio Dr. Ste #300, Plano, TX 75093
Toll Free 1-833-60-SPINE