Back pain can affect anyone, regardless of gender, age, or race. In fact, it’s the third most common reason people visit the doctor after skin issues and osteoarthritis.
At Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine in Ramsey, New Jersey, we take a personalized approach to treating both acute and chronic pain conditions. One common therapy for chronic neck or lower back pain is epidural injections. During an epidural injection, we deliver anesthetic and corticosteroid or steroid medication directly into the epidural space of your spinal canal. We use this technique to reduce inflammation, swelling, and pressure on nerves and nerve roots.
Even though epidural injections are a highly effective interventional pain management treatment, they only work for specific types of chronic back pain. Here are a few reasons an epidural injection might be right for you.
You have nerve pain
You can have back pain for several reasons, including soft tissue damage and skeletal issues. When your back pain involves a nerve, however, you usually develop additional symptoms — like numbness, weakness, or tingling — that radiate along the affected nerve.
Because epidural injections focus on the nerves in your spinal column, we often recommend them for conditions that include:
- Pinched nerve
- Herniated disc
- Spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
Epidural injections usually don’t help when you have general back pain or symptoms that don’t radiate along the nerve.
Your symptoms are chronic or severe
If your chronic back pain lasts longer than six weeks and is intense, we might recommend an epidural injection. An epidural injection doesn’t cure the problem causing your back pain — like a herniated disc — but it can reduce inflammation along the affected nerve while you heal, which can help relieve your symptoms.
Depending on your specific symptoms and the cause of your pain, we might recommend anywhere from one to three shots. When you have a series of epidural injections, you typically get them a month apart, and we don’t recommend having more than three shots in a 12-month period.
Nothing else has helped
If you’ve had chronic back pain that hasn’t responded to more conservative therapies, we might recommend an epidural injection. Conservative treatments for chronic back pain often include:
- Medications like anti-inflammatory drugs, pain relievers, and muscle relaxants
- Hot and cold therapy
- Weight management techniques like diet and exercise
- Physical therapy and rehabilitative exercises
- Acupuncture and electroacupuncture
- Electric stimulation
- Osteopathic manipulation treatment (OMT)
In some cases, we also use epidural injections as a diagnostic tool to help us locate the specific nerve triggering your discomfort.
To see if epidural injections are the best choice for your chronic back pain, call us at Progressive Spine & Sports Medicine or schedule an appointment online today.