How Epidural Spine Injections Can Help You

Published on January 20, 2021 by The Spine Center

If you’re one of the 16 million people in the United States who suffers from chronic back pain or sciatica, you may be feeling frustrated by your limited mobility and its effects on your emotions and your lifestyle. Living with chronic pain may have led you from one medication to another, with none of them giving you the relief you need. 

At The Spine Center of Louisiana in Baton Rouge, Walker, and Prairieville, Louisiana, our spine experts offer epidural steroid injections to stop back pain right at its source. Epidural steroid injections can alleviate back pain due to:

  • Spinal stenosis
  • Sciatica
  • Slipped disc
  • Spondylosis

Here’s how you can benefit from this effective, well-studied treatment.

Most pain medications are diffuse

When you take oral pain medication to alleviate chronic back pain or sciatica, the active agents must first pass through your digestive system and be broken down by your liver. The medication then moves through your bloodstream to arrive at the site of injury, where it binds with receptors or blocks the release of chemicals to stop pain. 

That’s why oral medications take at least 20 minutes to work. It also explains why painkillers often have side effects, such as an upset stomach. And the medications are distributed throughout your body, rather than being sent only to a specific site, so the effect is diluted.

Epidural injections go right to the source

In contrast, your doctor targets an epidural steroid injection directly at the source of your pain. They use a type of live-action, X-ray guidance called fluoroscopy to identify each nerve in the epidural space in your spine that could be causing your pain.

Once they verify which nerve or nerves are the source of your pain, they inject those specific nerves only. The steroid calms down the nerve, reducing inflammation and swelling so that your pain is reduced or completely alleviated over the next few days or weeks.

Epidural injections let the healing begin

If you have chronic back pain, part of your treatment program may be physical therapy that’s designed to strengthen the muscles, tendons, and ligaments that support your spine. However, if you’re in pain, it may not be possible to perform the exercises that could ultimately benefit you.

Once you get effective pain relief from an epidural, however, you can start to gently stretch and strengthen your core. Strong supporting muscles reduce your chances of another injury and help keep your spine in healthy alignment.

Epidural injections are pain-free

You might be relieved to know that a procedure designed to end pain is itself pain-free. We use the same kinds of intravenous and topical anesthetics that dentists use to ensure that you stay comfortable while we administer the steroid. Even though it may sound painful to get an injection in your spine, you won’t feel a thing.

Epidural injections are fast

Unlike more involved procedures, or invasive surgery, getting an epidural injection fits easily into your schedule. The injection itself only takes about 10 minutes. 

Epidural steroid injections don’t require any downtime or recovery period, either. Once your procedure’s over, you’re home free. And (within two weeks) pain-free, too. 

Epidural injections last a long time

Most painkillers don’t give you more than a few hours’ relief. In contrast, our patients report that they have pain relief for about 3-6 months after an epidural steroid injection. Sometimes the pain relief can last for up to a year.

Our patients report that they’re finally able to play with their kids and grandkids again. They can sit at the dinner table again. Or engage in their favorite activities, sports, and hobbies.

If you have chronic back pain, call us at 833-774-6327 to make an appointment for an epidural steroid injection at any of our locations. You can also book an appointment online.

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