Injections for Pain
Injections for pain are used to temporarily relieve pain and discomfort caused by a number of pain conditions. Injections are often implemented before exploring other, more aggressive treatments. (In fact, they serve a diagnostic function, providing valuable information about the pain generator by whether or not they provide relief.) Injections have shown to help to reduce back pain and inflammation and usually consist of a steroid and a numbing medicine. Epidural injections are one of the most common methods used today.
What do epidural injections treat?
Epidural injections treat a variety of pain conditions that affect the back and spine. These include:
- Spinal stenosis – Spinal stenosis occurs when areas within the spine become narrowed, placing pressure on the spinal cord and nerves. Pain typically is felt in the lower back and neck area and can increase with movement.
- Herniated discs – Usually the result of gradual wear and tear, a herniated disc occurs when the discs (often in the lower back) in the spine have bulged or become damaged.
- Degenerative disc disease – Degenerative disc disease occurs when the discs in the spine begin to break down from wear and tear as they age.
- Failed back surgery syndrome – This occurs when a back surgery does not have the outcome intended, because of nerve damage and/or incomplete healing of the nerve with continued pain.
- Sciatica – Sciatica occurs when there is pressure or damage done to the sciatic nerve.
- Vertebral fractures – Often the result of a traumatic injury or osteoporosis, small breaks can occur in any of the vertebrae, causing pain.
How do epidural injections work?
During your treatment, you will be instructed to lie face down on the exam table. The next steps include:
- Cleaning the skin and injecting an anesthetic for numbing purposes
- Inserting a needle through the skin toward the spine
- Injecting a contrast dye to help confirm if the needle is positioned in the epidural space (space between the spine and the spinal cord)
- Maneuvering the needle between the bones of the spine using real-time X-ray, called fluoroscopy
- Once the needle is positioned, injecting an anesthetic and steroid-medicated solution (corticosteroid)
The injection is normally not painful due to the numbing medicine used. Temporary, mild tenderness can sometimes occur afterward. The relief from epidural injections will vary from person to person.
Benefits of pain injections
- Injections are a common method for providing pain relief and are generally safe
- Injections can help to flush out pain-inducing inflammatory proteins
- Injections can help you safely return to enjoying your normal activities without the dependency of pain medication
- Pain relief can significantly improve your quality of life
Take back the life you enjoyed before the pain began. For more information, call the spine specialists at Spine Surgery of Idaho today at (208) 944-0056 to schedule your next appointment.