Chronic pain can disrupt your daily routine, but non-surgical solutions for managing many of its symptoms are available. Spinal injections, in particular, can provide significant relief for back pain caused by spinal cord inflammation and irritation.
However, they may not be suitable for everyone. Your healthcare provider can help determine if they are right for your condition. To help you understand its role in chronic pain management, we’ve listed below everything you need to know about spinal injections.
What are Spinal Injections?
Also called epidural or nerve blocks, spinal injections are part of the many pain relief options for chronic back pain. Medication, usually steroids, is injected directly into the spine for pain relief. It also allows your body to heal faster, increase your mobility, and ultimately recover within a shorter period while avoiding any major surgeries.
It is important to note that spinal injections are for short-term pain relief (typically three months) and are often utilized together with physical therapy and pain medication to manage chronic pain.
For many Americans, back pain can be a common experience. In the United States, back pain is the fifth most common condition people seek medical attention for. Spinal injections are used to treat many conditions such as herniated discs, which as tears or injuries in the spine, and spinal stenosis, a condition where the spinal canal becomes narrow, which then pinches the nerves. It can also manage pain symptoms from sciatica, which is a nerve issue concerning the sciatic nerve that causes lower back pain. Patients with degenerative disc disease, the condition that causes back pain due to the wear-and-tear of the spinal discs, can also find pain relief using spinal injections.
Here are the types of spinal injections you may be eligible for:
- Epidural steroid injection – a corticosteroid or steroidal medication shot in the epidural space in between the spinal nerves. It targets the inflammation and irritation found in the spinal roots.
- Lumbar epidural steroidal injection – often used to treat sciatica, this steroidal injection focuses on providing pain relief for spinal nerve root inflammation that causes many lower back conditions.
- Sacroiliac joint injections – an anti-inflammation medication and anesthetic injection that is shot in the sacroiliac joint, which causes pain in the lower back, buttock, or upper leg.
- Trigger point injections – used to treat myofascial pain, which is caused by the “knots” formed in the muscles and connective tissues in the neck, shoulders, arms, lower back, and legs.
- Facet joint block – a small amount of anesthetic injected near the facet joint, which is located away from the spinal cord, on the side of the spine.
Some risks may occur after getting spinal injections. While rare, these complications are bleeding, infection, nerve damage, or in some extreme cases, nerve paralysis. It is crucial to receive a spinal injection from a certified healthcare provider, such as a physiatrist, neurologist, or spine surgeon, due to the need for precision and expertise.
How Spinal Injections Work
If your condition necessitates a spinal injection, you may first prepare for your treatment by consulting with your doctor about your pre-existing medical conditions that may affect your spinal injection, such as pregnancy and other forms of medication.
In some cases, your healthcare provider may limit your diet or adjust your current medication before the day of the treatment. Be sure to ask someone to drive you home, as it is an outpatient treatment that may lead to a temporary inability to drive.
Getting a spinal injection usually takes around fifteen to thirty minutes. Depending on the type of spinal injection you are getting, your healthcare provider will clean the area and then inject the area with a steroid or corticosteroid shot.
They may also inject local anesthesia around the area, so you will feel less pain from the spinal injection. They will apply pressure to prevent bleeding and then clean and dress the area.
Pain relief after the spinal injection may take two to three days before taking effect. In the meantime, it is recommended that you rest as the medication takes effect. For some, the pain relief from the spinal injection can last up to six months, but experience varies per case.
The goal of spinal injection is to provide pain relief and is not a total cure for back pain.
Chronic Spinal Pain Treatment in Rochester Hills, MI
Chronic pain is a lifelong condition that requires constant medical attention and advice. Your healthcare provider’s role in creating an individualized treatment plan is vital in chronic pain management.
The Ahlgren Spine Orthopaedic Surgery is dedicated to providing modern and accessible treatments for various orthopedic ailments, including chronic back pain. Dr. Bradley Ahlgren and his team specialize in spinal surgery and provide expert diagnoses and treatments.
We also offer sacroiliac spinal injections among our orthopedic services to provide lower back pain relief. We ensure that all of our patients receive the highest quality of non-surgical and surgical orthopedic care.
If you or a loved one have any questions about spinal injections and what they can do for you in your chronic pain management journey, our friendly staff is available to assist you. You can reach us at (248) 215-8080 or schedule an appointment online through our online appointment request form. You can also check out our three locations for your convenience.
We look forward to getting you back on your feet!