Are you experiencing chronic pain in your neck, arms, back or legs? Does the thought of undergoing surgery make you anxious? If so, then epidural injections may be a viable option for you. This non-surgical procedure is often recommended by doctors to help alleviate pain and discomfort caused by various conditions such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, sciatica and spondylolisthesis.
What are Epidural Injections?
Epidural steroid injections are non-surgical interventions that health professionals administer in the office to manage and treat various pain conditions. These injections are not just a viable option but also a significantly less worrying alternative to surgery for those experiencing chronic pain in areas such as the neck, arms, back or legs. Epidural steroid injections can effectively alleviate the discomfort caused by a range of conditions, including herniated discs, spinal stenosis, sciatica, and spondylolisthesis.
How do Epidural Injections Work?
During an epidural injection treatment, the patient is carefully positioned face down, and a local anesthetic is applied to minimize discomfort. A skilled pain management specialist then introduces a needle into the epidural space, using a contrast dye to ensure accurate positioning, which is confirmed with the use of a fluoroscope. Once the precise location is established, a mixture of a steroid and anesthetic is injected.
Depending on the individual’s response to treatment, up to three injections may be necessary to achieve the full therapeutic benefit. Different types of medications are utilized depending on the patient’s needs. For instance, corticosteroids are employed for their potent anti-inflammatory properties, which can reduce swelling and nerve irritation. This gives the nerve time to heal itself and can help prevent further discomfort.
Duration and Effects
The longevity of relief from an epidural injection can vary widely from one patient to another. While some patients may experience permanent relief, for others, the effects may be comparatively short-lived. Relief may last from a few days to several months. If the pain recurs, subsequent injections or an alternative treatment approach may be considered.
Effectiveness and Benefits
Many patients report significant pain relief after receiving epidural injections. Studies have shown that epidural injections can provide up to six months of relief in some cases. This non-surgical treatment option also has several other benefits, including:
- Minimally invasive: Epidural injections are a relatively simple procedure that does not require any incisions or general anesthesia.
- Short recovery time: Most patients can resume their daily activities immediately after the procedure.
- Fewer side effects: Since epidural injections target the affected area directly, they have fewer side effects compared to oral medications.
- Customizable treatment: The amount and type of medication used in the injection can be tailored to each patient’s specific needs, ensuring optimal results.
Risks and Side Effects
As with any medical procedure, there are some risks associated with epidural injections. These may include infection, nerve damage, bleeding, or allergic reactions to the medication. However, the chances of experiencing these complications are relatively low.
Some common side effects that may occur after receiving an epidural injection include:
- Temporary increase in pain
- Nausea or vomiting
If you experience any severe side effects or your pain worsens after the procedure, be sure to contact your doctor immediately.
Epidural injections can provide lasting relief for those suffering from chronic pain in the neck, arms, back, or legs. This non-surgical procedure is minimally invasive and has few side effects compared to other treatment options. At Commonwealth Spine & Pain Specialists, our team of expert doctors has extensive experience in performing epidural injections and helping patients find relief from their pain. Contact us today to schedule a consultation and learn more about how we can help you live a pain-free life.