epidural steroid spine injection for lower back pain

When Should You Consider an Epidural Steroid Injection for Low Back Pain Relief?

Your spinal column supports your entire body. Even relatively small damage to the spine can affect your ability to move, sleep, and function. When stress on the spine manifests in the low back, the pain can directly impact the quality of your life. Globally, 540 million people suffer from low back pain, and its prevalence is increasing. 

Often, low back pain is left untreated, potentially leading to more serious problems. When physical movement is limited, your emotional health can plummet. Pain management practices that fail can be extremely discouraging, causing even more frustration. Fortunately, relief from low back pain may be within reach. Epidural steroid injections may help you live a life free from chronic low back pain.

Why Might Your Doctor Recommend an Epidural Steroid Injection? 

If you’ve tried non-invasive treatments for your low back pain and still haven’t experienced any relief, then your doctor might recommend an epidural steroid injection. Generally, such discussions would transpire after you’ve tried other treatments anywhere from 6 to 8 weeks and your pain level is the same or worse.  

When you visit a doctor about your low back pain, they may recommend various non-medical approaches, including exercise, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, nonprescription medication, and a combination of heat and cold therapy. For those with moderate to acute pain, these treatments can be quite effective. However, someone with crippling back pain may have a larger problem and need a rigorous treatment plan to ease their discomfort. 

What are Epidural Steroid Injections?

Epidural steroid injections are cortisone-like medicines that are injected into your spinal canal. 

They tend to work best for conditions in the low back and leg regions. The most common medical conditions treated with epidural steroid injections include:  

  • Herniated or bulging discs
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Sciatica
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Bone spurs
  • Joint cysts

While the purpose of the injection is to relieve pain, it often provides additional benefits when combined with other non-medical treatment programs. Once the cortisone is inserted into the spine, the synthetic minerals break down the proteins that cause swelling, allowing the joints to move freely. 

Are Epidural Steroid Injections a Cure for Low Back Pain? 

While epidural steroid injections are used to reduce pain and restore mobility, they are not a cure-all. Based on your medical condition and other factors, the injection can last up to three months. The goal is to decrease pain long enough to encourage healing in the affected areas, and through a series of injections, you may start to see small improvements turn into something significant.  

Additionally, you may start to feel relief within 24 to 48 hours after the procedure. In regards to needle-based procedures, these injections are minimally invasive, so you can expect to see no scarring and minimal downtime. Keep in mind that this procedure may not benefit everyone, especially those with non-specific low back pain. Living with back pain is not easy, but you can take charge when it comes to managing your low back pain. Reach out to an experienced spine specialist for help building a treatment plan tailored to your needs.

Request an Appointment with a Board-Certified Surgeon  

At NJ Spine & Orthopedic, our multidisciplinary medical team is made up of spine specialists, orthopedic surgeons, and physician assistants, many of whom are recognized for their unwavering commitment to whole body care.

Learn more about our minimally invasive surgeries and treatment options from board-certified spine specialists. Our top surgeons will work together to provide comprehensive spine care for your low back pain. Call (866) 272-9271 or complete a contact form to schedule a consultation in a location near you. 

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