Epidural steroid injections provide a non-surgical treatment option to patients suffering chronic lower lumbar back pain. While the relief provided is only temporary, lasting up to a year in some patients, these injections benefit patients in many ways that can lead to longer-term care solutions to treat their ongoing back pain. This effect has been most noticeable in helping patients continue to begin a physical rehabilitation program.
An epidural steroid injection delivers steroidal medication into an epidural space within the spine. Specifically, this area is between the vertebral membrane and wall where fat and small blood vessels surround the dural sac that protects your nerves and spinal fluid.
By injecting a steroid into the epidural space, inflammatory substances that can cause pain in the structures of your spine are temporarily inhibited. This allows conditions like herniated discs or degenerative disc disease to become less inflamed. The medical science behind steroids is promising. Their ability to counteract inflammation has proven effective when delivered via an epidural injection to the site of inflammation.
Depending on your spinal condition, pain experience, and medical assessment, the type of epidural steroid injection you receive could be one of the following:
This is the simplest injection to administer because the steroidal medication doesn’t go into the epidural space but rather into the surrounding area around the nerves. This method is popular for treating widespread pain.
This injection technique requires a direct administration of medication into the epidural space of the affected nerve.
While more precise than a caudal approach, an interlaminar injection only injects medication into the epidural space near the affected root area.
Another factor that influences how long a patient experiences pain relief from an epidural steroid injection is the type of steroid used. These substances have a variety of features that can affect the length of time it lasts.
Steroids that are non-water-soluble contain large-sized particulates. When injected, they will clump together where the nerve inflammation is for long-term pain relief.
Steroids that are smaller in size and water-soluble are non-particulate. They last in the epidural space for shorter periods, offering short-term easing of pain.
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When you’re experiencing a severe episode of back pain, many practitioners would agree that an epidural steroid injection might be of benefit to the patient. If it helps your condition, you may receive up to three injections over a year.
Once administered, patients may experience the following benefits:
The majority of patients who receive an epidural steroid injection experience a noticeable reduction in severe back pain, though the length it lasts varies. The reason this treatment is effective is because of the direct delivery of the steroid to the affected area. This precision application of medication allows the anti-inflammatory benefits of the drug to work and encourages the surrounding nerves and tissues to recuperate.
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Typically, epidural steroid injections are ideal for patients who need pain relief to progress or begin rehabilitation after injury. There are several conditions that this treatment can address, including:
Also, these injections have proven useful in treating painful spinal cysts and spondylolisthesis, where one vertebra slips over another. Those who suffer from lumbar radiculopathy have also achieved sciatica symptom relief because of epidural steroid injections.
There are also certain circumstances where a doctor may recommend an epidural steroid injection for a patient:
Thanks to the latest medical advancements in treatment of chronic lumbar and related spinal pain, patients now have other options besides surgery to treat their conditions. The overall benefits of epidural steroid injections make their use a viable option for those wanting to get control of their pain and engage physical therapy treatment.
NJ Spine & Orthopedic has board-certified surgeons and medical experts trained in state-of-the-art equipment and treatment techniques to achieve quality care, faster recovery times, and a pain-free life for all our patients. If you have questions about this procedure and wonder if it may be a possible option for your spinal condition, contact our office today online or call (866) 272-9271. You can also use our free Treatment Finder tool. We are here to help you get your life back and get you on the road to healing quickly and safely.
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