More about Epidural Injections

In November’s first blog, we discussed epidural injections for chronic back pain due to nerve root compression along the spinal cord. These injections are most common in the lumbar spine, the lower back. 

Since this is one of the main non-surgical treatment options for chronic pain, let’s get into it a little more in this second blog. 

What are the common indications for epidural steroid injections? 

These are a few common causes of lower back pain that could merit trying this treatment approach: 

  •     Lumbar herniated discs — When a disc herniates, the inner jelly pushes through the outer fibrous covering of the disc, often pushing on the adjacent spinal nerve root. This nerve compression and inflammation results in pain, weakness, and/or numbness along the distribution of the nerve.
  •     Lumbar degenerative disc disease — The gradual breakdown of intervertebral discs that is common with aging may cause the collapse of disc space, decreasing the height of the disc. Now the adjacent vertebrae are closer to each other, and this can lead to compression of the corresponding spinal nerve root.
  •     Foraminal spinal stenosis — The compression of nerve roots due to narrowing of the bony openings (foramen) for spinal nerves may lead to chronic pain.

Success rates of epidural injections 

The success rates patients achieve with epidural injections vary widely. While some patients experience significant pain relief, others may not experience any pain relief. The duration of results varies widely as well. 

These are the success rates as shown from various clinical tests where sciatica was treated with these injections: 

  •     Lumbar herniated disc — An analysis of several large clinical trials indicated that 40% to 80% of patients experienced over 50% improvement in sciatica pain and functional improvement for from 3 months to 1 year when from 1 to 4 injections were given in one year.
  •     Foraminal spinal stenosis — In a study group of 60 participants, sciatica pain was relieved in 87% of patients with mild to moderate stenosis and 42% of patients with severe stenosis. The treatment included 1 injection and results lasted up to 3 months.

If you have chronic back pain or leg pain due to sciatica, give Dr. Tinley a call at DFW Center for Spinal Disorders, (817) 916-4685. He can help.

Posted in: Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery (MIS), Spinal Disorders

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