When Injections Are the Way to Go

Surgery to relieve chronic back pain should always be the last treatment option. But sometimes physical therapy, changes in lifestyle, or ongoing use of oral pain medication isn’t working. In these cases, lumbar epidural injections may be effective. 

Injections can provide longer lasting relief from pain and inflammation than oral medications, and they don’t have the same risks of addiction and other side effects. 

Epidural injections can be used as one of the treatment options for patients dealing with nerve root compression. 

What is an epidural injection? 

These injections get their name, epidural injections, because it involves injecting a local anesthetic and a corticosteroid directly into the epidural space that surrounds the spinal cord and nerve roots. 

The goals of an epidural steroid injection are to: 

  •     Control pain by reducing inflammation in and around the nerve roots
  •     Improve mobility and function in the lower back and legs
  •     Allow the patients to participate in and make progress with a comprehensive physical therapy and rehabilitation program

What are the benefits of epidural injections? 

These injections can be helpful for patients dealing with chronic back pain and the pain from sciatica. The drawbacks are that they aren’t always effective. Plus, when effective their results are usually temporary, lasting from one week to one year. Patients can usually receive up to three injections in one calendar year. 

These are the benefits of epidural injections: 

  •     Reduce nerve pain and inflammation — Steroids decrease the production of inflammatory chemicals and reduce the sensitivity of nerve fibers to pain, generating fewer pain signals.
  •     Limit oral medication — Pain relief provided by these injections can help limit or eliminate the need for oral medications, which often have side effects with long-term use.
  •     Continue or re-engage in PT — The pain relief may be sufficient to allow the patient to begin or return to their physical therapy regimen.
  •     Postpone surgery — The pain relief provided by epidural injections can postpone or eliminate (usually by allowing PT to be successful) the need for surgery.

Are you experiencing chronic back pain? It may be time to set up an appointment with Dr. Tinley at DFW Center for Spinal Disorders. Call us at (817) 916-4685 to schedule a consultation.

Posted in: Pinched Nerve

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