Epidural Steroid Injections
Are you experiencing pain that just won’t seem to go away no matter what treatments and medications you try? You might want to consider talking to your doctor about epidural steroid injections (ESI) for pain management. These injections are a safe, minimally invasive treatment option that has been proven to provide relief from many types of long-term and chronic pain conditions, such as sciatica, radiculopathy, and spinal stenosis.
What Are Epidural Steroid Injections and How Do They Work?
Epidural steroid injections (ESIs) have been used frequently in the management of back and neck pain due to inflammation within the spinal column. This type of procedure is most often used to treat a herniated disc, spinal stenosis, sciatica, and radiculopathy. During an ESI, cortisone is injected directly into the epidural space in the spine through a needle. The purpose of this injection is to deliver medication directly to the source of pain, thus reducing inflammation and providing relief from symptoms.
Who Is a Good Candidate for an Epidural Steroid Injection?
Epidural steroid injections may be beneficial for individuals with lower back or neck pain due to nerve inflammation. These injections are ideal for individuals who have tried other methods of dealing with their discomfort, such as physical therapy, certain medications, and/or chiropractic care, without success. Additionally, good candidates for epidural steroid injections are those whose back or neck pain has a specific root cause that can be determined by medical professionals, such as neuroforaminal or spinal stenosis.
What Are the Risks and Benefits of the Procedure?
Epidural steroid injections can provide relief from pain caused by inflammation of the spinal cord or nerve roots, but they are not without risks. These injections carry a risk of infection and could potentially cause increased nerve sensitivity or motor weakness in certain parts of the body. They should be administered carefully to minimize such risks. The potential benefits of epidural steroid injections include a reduction in inflammatory tissue around the nerve roots and a decrease in pain associated with spinal disk cushion breakdown or herniation. Some doctors report that epidural steroid injections have been observed to provide significant long-term pain relief for many patients who suffer from chronic back pain due to herniated discs or spinal stenosis.
How Often Should You Receive ESIs, and How Long Will the Effects Last?
It is recommended that individuals receive epidural steroid injections at intervals of no more than once every three months to minimize their possible side effects. Generally, the effects of a single injection may last for up to six months, although relief may be experienced for a shorter or longer period depending on the individual’s response and condition. Patients should always consult with their healthcare professionals to determine the most effective course of action for treating their specific pain management needs.
What Should I Expect During the Procedure?
An epidural steroid injection is a commonly used procedure for managing lower back pain and leg pain caused by irritated nerves. Before the procedure, an X-ray or MRI may be requested so that your physician can get a better idea of which areas are most affected. During the procedure, an anesthetic may be used to numb the area before inserting a needle under a live X-ray into the area between your vertebrae. After this is done, medication will be injected into the epidural space to reduce inflammation and provide relief from pain symptoms. The whole process usually only takes several minutes and many patients report experiencing relief within 48 hours following their injection.
Are There Any Alternative Treatments That I Can Try?
Many people with chronic pain look for ways to manage the symptoms without having to resort to epidural steroid injections. The good news is that there are numerous treatments and therapies available; the first step is to speak to your doctor or physical therapist to identify which ones offer the most beneficial results. Acupuncture, massage therapy, and exercise can all be effective substitutes for epidural steroid injections, as they may help reduce inflammation, improve circulation and alleviate muscle spasms. Meditation and relaxation techniques can also be useful; they focus on cultivating a mindset of calmness allowing you to better accept discomfort while also restoring balance within the body. There are also certain foods such as blueberries and salmon which have anti-inflammatory properties so incorporating these into your diet could help reduce inflammation associated with chronic pain. Taking a holistic approach enables you to explore different options and better understand the source of your condition.
Epidural steroid injections are a popular treatment option for many conditions that cause pain in the spine, including herniated discs, lumbar spinal stenosis, and degenerative disc disease. If you have chronic back pain and other conservative treatments have failed to provide relief, ESIs may be an option worth considering. Be sure to discuss the risks and benefits of the procedure with your doctor to see if they’re right for you. Several alternative treatments may be effective in treating your condition. If you’re interested in trying epidural steroid injections, talk to one of our interventional pain specialists about what you can expect during the procedure.