Pain can make it difficult to go about your daily activities. It can be very limiting, and anyone in pain likely wants to seek effective ways to achieve relief. Usually, a combination of conservative and minimally invasive methods is used to treat patients with pain; surgery is often the last resort.
If you are suffering from neck or back pain, you may have already heard of steroid injections, which are now increasingly being used to manage pain. Steroid injections can help patients become pain-free for months. It is a generally safe and inexpensive option you should consider discussing with your doctor.
What Are Steroid Injections?
Steroid injections contain a combination of corticosteroid – an anti-inflammatory – and anesthetic, which numbs pain. Together, they can provide quick and lasting pain relief.
Corticosteroid injections use cortisol, which is a synthetic type of hormone produced by the adrenal glands as a response to stress. Cortisone works to reduce inflammation in tissues. Since the source of pain is usually inflammation (the movement of fluid and white blood cells to the site of the injury can compress the nerves, causing them to send pain signals), by controlling the inflammation, steroid injections can effectively relieve pain.
Steroid injections can be delivered directly into joints and around soft tissues, such as the wrist, elbow, hip, knee, ankle, and spine.
Epidural Steroid Injections for Chronic Pain
The epidural space is the area between the vertebral canal and spinal cord. It is the space that encloses the spinal nerves. Steroid injections are usually directed into the epidural canal for relief from cervical, thoracic, and lumbar pain. Any spinal nerves can become compressed, causing pain in your neck and back – the specific area depends on which nerves are affected.
Once the medication is delivered into the epidural space, the effects immediately begin to take place. First, the anesthetic delivers immediate relief from pain. Pain signals that are being sent by the spinal nerves to the brain are stopped. This effect is immediate, since the cortisone coats the nerves and works to reduce swelling. It usually takes three to seven days to experience the optimal effects of the cortisone. The pain-relieving effects of steroid injections can be felt for three months or longer.
The advantage of using steroid injections to manage chronic pain is that by relieving swelling, your body is given time to repair itself, as swelling that is uncontrolled can prevent healing. If administered by a medical doctor, steroid injections can be life-changing. In some cases, it can even bring permanent relief from pain.
Steroid Injections in Rochester Hills, Bad Axe, and Lapeer, Michigan
Dr. Bradley Ahlgren at Ahlgren Spine provides epidural steroid injections for managing pain in the neck and back. Along with steroid injections, he also administers other pain management procedures, such as selective nerve root blocks and radiofrequency ablation. Dr. Ahlgren is a board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon with over 25 years of experience. Find out if steroid injections is a viable option to manage your chronic pain.
To schedule an appointment with Dr. Ahlgren, call our office today at (248) 215-8080 or use our online appointment request form. Our friendly team looks forward to speaking with you.