What Are Epidural Steroid Injections?
Epidural steroid injections are a treatment for pain, commonly given for chronic painful disc and nerve conditions in the back. The injected steroid serves to treat inflammation and nerve compression, which are the main causes of pain. When conservative pain treatments have been used, but have not relieved the pain, an epidural steroid injection may be recommended.
X-rays and MRIs may show some causes of pain, such as a bulging disc or nerve compression, but will not show other causes, such as a torn and leaking disc. For this reason, an epidural steroid injection can also be used as a diagnostic test. If the epidural steroid injection relieves the pain, then the doctor can determine that a leaky or torn disc is present. It can then be used as treatment for the pain for any of the possible causes.
How Is The Injection Given?
The patient may first receive an IV medicine to help the muscles relax. The target area is then sterilized. The doctor inserts a long, thin needle, guided by X-ray imaging. Medications will then be injected, first a local anesthetic to numb the area, then a corticosteroid that will provide long term anti-inflammatory relief. The patient will be monitored for 30 minutes following the epidural steroid injection, and should be able to return to work the following day.
What Are The Effects Of The Injection?
The pain will immediately be relieved for a few hours, but will return within a few days, because the injection site will be sore. The corticosteroid may not activate for a few days. Once it does, the duration of pain relief depends on the individual. For some, one injection can provide long-term pain relief. For others, injections may be needed every few months. This depends on the cause and severity of the pain, as well as other conditions. A doctor usually will not inject a patient more than three times within six months, given the adverse effects of regularly using steroids.
Do You Need An Epidural Injection?
If you have back pain that has not responded to conservative treatments, or if you suspect that you may have any of the conditions mentioned above and are seeking a diagnosis as well as pain management, you can book an appointment with us now.
Also, if you have been previously diagnosed or given pain treatment options and are seeking a second opinion, NY Bone & Joint Specialists has a back, neck and spine specialist as well as pain management specialists.
Dr. Leon Popovitz and Dr. Michael Mizhiritsky, along with their team of best-in-class orthopedic physicians, are known for their exemplary orthopedic surgical skill and best-rated physical medicine and rehabilitation program. This, along with their top in-office physical therapy and long-term sports rehabilitation processes, leads to athletes of all levels returning to their top physical potential.