Understanding Epidural Steroid Injections
If you live long enough, chances are you may experience a spinal injury or degenerative disc condition. When the stiffness, limited range of motion, and chronic pain can’t be relieved with heat, pain-relief medication, or stretching, it may be time to see a specialist and discuss the next level of treatment - epidural steroid injections.
In today’s post, we’ll explain steroid injections, what conditions they treat, and what patients can expect.
What are epidural steroid injections?
Epidural steroid injections contain a small dose of anti-inflammatory and pain relieving medications that are injected directly into the epidural space - a fat-filled area between the bone and the protective sac of the spinal nerves.
The steroid is used to flush away the proteins that cause swelling and irritation of nerves. The anesthetic provides immediate relief. This one-two punch brings pain relief that can allows patients’ natural healing process to take place and to improve spinal conditions with physical therapy and an exercise program.
Cervical epidural steroid injections
Cervical steroid injections are administered directly into the epidural area of the cervical spine. These injections can be used to treat pain in the neck, shoulders, back, and arms. Patients suffering from cervical radiculitis, cervical bulging discs, and cervical spinal stenosis often benefit from cervical epidural steroid injections. ...Learn more about cervical epidural steroid injections
Lumbar transforaminal steroid injections
Lumbar transforaminal steroid injections are administered directly into the epidural area of the lumbar spine. These injections can be used to treat pain in the lower back and legs caused by conditions such as lumbar radiculitis, lumbar bulging discs, and lumbar spinal stenosis. Patients suffering from symptoms of sciatica, nerve root compression, herniated discs, and spinal inflammation may benefit from lumbar transforaminal steroid injections. ...Learn more about lumbar transforaminal steroid injections
What is the procedure like?
Before the procedure, a local anaesthetic will be used to numb the injection site so discomfort is minimal throughout the procedure. Next, with the aid of a fluoroscope (live x-ray), the doctor guides a needle between the bony vertebrae and into the epidural space. Fluoroscope allows the doctor to watch the needle in real-time on the x-ray monitor, ensuring that the needle gets as close to the painful nerve as possible. The patient might be sedated, and the procedure is generally pretty quick—about 10-15 minutes. Patients typically experience pain relief a few days after an epidural steroid injection.
Most patients experience pain relief 3-5 days after an epidural steroid injection, though some may experience relief sooner. Patients are typically restricted to three injections per year, in order to prevent bone weakening due to prolonged steroid exposure. Although some patients may need as many as three injections in order to experience the full benefit of the medicine, many patients feel significant relief after their first injection, and do not need additional treatments.
If you or someone you know is suffering with chronic neck or back pain, contact us today to schedule an appointment. A short office visit at Segura Neuroscience and Pain Center and an epidural steroid injection may be the right solution for you.
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