If you’re among the 8% of adults who experience chronic, persistent back pain, you know how debilitating it can be. Work, relationships, and activities you once loved to do suffer as a result of your pain. Even your mood and demeanor are affected, as you spend every day just trying to manage the pain.
Ongoing pain also makes it difficult to undergo treatments designed to relieve your symptoms, such as physical therapy.
At Prime Regenerative and Pain Management, our pain management specialists, led by Dev Sen, MD, provide a wide variety of effective therapies that can relieve your pain and restore your mobility, including epidural steroid injections.
If other therapies have failed to help you find relief, consider epidural injections to reduce inflammation and help ease your pain.
The effect of epidural injections
An epidural steroid injection, or “epidural” for short, contains an aesthetic to provide temporary relief from chronic pain. Longer-term relief comes from the effects of the injection’s steroid.
The steroid effectively reduces inflammation and thus decreases or eliminates neck, back, arm, and leg pain caused by compressed or inflamed spinal nerves.
We deliver the injection into the epidural space, which is a fat-filled area that lies between the spine and the protective membrane covering your spinal nerves. Pain relief typically lasts about three months, but many of our patients experience longer-lasting results.
Epidural injections are a way to soothe nerve irritation, but they don’t actually heal the problem causing your pain. They are effective in reducing inflammation, so you may be more responsive to other treatments that could improve your long-term function.
Candidates for epidural injections
Epidural injections (Can be done for both acute and chronic spinal conditions causing low back pain. This treatment modality is very effective for short term as well as long term low back pain caused by certain conditions that can irritate the nerves running through the spinal canal and nerve root canal). generally aren’t recommended if you have an acute sprain or relatively mild injury that will likely resolve on its own. Instead, this treatment is reserved for long-term, chronic back pain caused by certain conditions that can irritate the nerves running through your spinal canal and nerve root canal.
Conditions that may warrant relief from epidural steroid injections include:
Spinal stenosis is a narrowing of the spinal canal and nerve root canal, which then compresses nerves and causes pain. Stenosis most often affects your lower back (lumbar spine) and neck area (cervical spine).
Spondylolisthesis is a weakness or fracture between the upper and lower facet joints of a vertebra that may cause it to slip forward and compress nerve roots, which causes pain.
A herniated disc causes pain when the gel-like material contained within an intervertebral disc bulges or ruptures through a weak area in the disc wall and presses against a spinal nerve.
A degenerative disc comes from aging or deterioration of an intervertebral disc, which can lead to collapse of the disc space.
If you experience compression of the large sciatic nerve, you get tingling, numbing, or shooting pain that travels from the buttocks and down the legs — a condition known as sciatica.
Sciatica is commonly due to compression of the fifth lumbar or first sacral spinal nerve.
When to agree to an epidural injection
If you’ve exhausted other treatments, like movement modification and over-the-counter or prescription pain medications, and tried physical therapy to no avail, it might be time to agree to an epidural injection.
Dr. Sen may recommend this treatment when:
- The pain limits your participation in therapies designed to improve your underlying condition
- You’d like to postpone back surgery
- You have tried other conservative treatment for six weeks without relief
- You experience pain traveling into your arms, legs, or shoulders
If you have chronic back pain that’s interfering with your quality of life, it’s time to do something about it. Contact us for an appointment at our Fredericksburg, Virginia, office. We also serve patients from nearby Stafford and Woodbridge, Virginia.