If you’re experiencing nerve pain that originates in your spine and radiates to an extremity (sometimes referred to as sciatica), you don’t need to suffer. Epidural injections are a non-surgical treatment option that can help you. In this article, you’ll learn when they’re used, how they work, and if they’re right for you. Let’s jump right in:
Epidural Injections: When They’re Used
Epidural injections are used to treat localized or radiating pain that’s caused by a pinched nerve in the spine. Common reasons for a nerve being pinched are:
- – A bulged disc
- – A herniated disc
- – Spinal Stenosis
- – Spinal arthritis (Spondylosis)
- – Spondylolisthesis
Illustration 1– A pinched nerve due to a herniated disc
In most cases, epidural injections are used after conservative treatment options have produced little to no symptom relief. Injections are used to help facilitate return to normal function by decreasing pain and nerve root swelling and irritations. It should be noted that non-invasive treatment is neither stopped nor replaced by epidural injections. A comprehensive treatment plan that includes injections, activity modification, physical therapy, and other pain management measures is most effective.
Epidural Injections: How They Work
The epidural space lies between the membrane of the spinal cord and the vertebral wall of the spinal canal. Because it’s close to the nerve roots, the epidural space is the ideal location to administer a combination of anesthetic and anti-inflammatory medications that quickly decrease nerve irritation and pain. For some patients, one epidural injection provides lasting symptom relief. Depending on severity of the symptoms multiple injections may be needed.
Epidural Injections: The Procedure
The first step in a successful procedure involves identifying the problematic nerve. Once the nerve is identified, our specially trained interventional Physiatrists are experts in safe and effective injection treatments. The injection doesn’t take long—a needle is inserted into the epidural space and the medication is administered. This is done quickly and efficiently by using an X-ray to guide the needle to exactly the right place. After which contrast dye is used to confirm the spread of the medication along the injured nerve root. The patient is able to return home immediately after, with essentially no recovery time.
Epidural Injections: Finding a Pain Management Specialist
Pain, numbness, burning or tingling that starts in the spine and radiates to an extremity can be treated with epidural injections. But not before non-invasive measures have been tried. In order to find out if epidural injections might be the treatment option that’s right for you, please contact one of our 5 Fairfield County offices to arrange an appointment. The road to overcoming nerve pain starts when you walk through our doors.