Epidural Steroid Injections

Epidural Steroid Injection for Chronic Pain

An epidural steroid injection is a popular treatment option for helping patients who suffer from chronic pain find the relief they need. The Texas Pain Care team is proud to specialize in Epidural Steroid Injection for Chronic Pain, offering a multi-faceted, minimally-invasive approach for short- and long-term pain management in the Sugar Land, Missouri City, and Houston areas.

WHAT IS AN EPIDURAL STEROID INJECTION?

Simply put, an epidural steroid injection is a way to inject medication into the epidural space of the body by using a syringe. The epidural space is a fat-filled area that covers the spinal cord to protect it and the surrounding nerves from damage. The goal of the medicine, which is usually a pain reliever and an anti-inflammatory, is to reduce the pain signals to your brain and relieve any inflammation that is creating issues for the nerves in the spine.

The reason why injections into the epidural area work so well for treating chronic pain is because all nerves travel through the spinal cord to the brain, which is where pain is registered. An injection into the epidural space blocks pain signals in a specific region of the body where pain is being felt. For the treatment of chronic pain, the steroid injection works in such a way that the irritated nerve(s) are coated with the steroid, not only reducing pain, but also allowing the nerve(s) time to heal. Epidural steroid injections can lead to temporary, long-term or permanent pain relief, and is a common treatment option for patients who are experiencing low back pain, neck pain, and chronic pain after surgery.

There are several different types of epidural steroid injections options, and the specific type you receive is dependent upon the cause of your pain. The main difference between each option is where the needle is injected and the amount of nerves treated.

Intralaminar injections: This injection occurs in the midline of the back, through the back of the vertebrae. The medicine is injected into the epidural space in the midline, spreading to the nerve roots on both sides of the spine. This is a great option for short-term relief.

Transforaminal injection: This injection option is preferred for treating one side of the spine at a time, typically targeting more specific areas. The injection is placed through the side of your vertebra above the exiting nerve root’s opening from where the pain is thought to stem. Pain specialists often use this injection option for patients who have already undergone spine surgery and have surgical pins/rods/screws, as well as scarring, because those areas are able to be avoided. This injection provides effective short-term and moderate relief for patients who experience lumbar back pain.

Caudal injection: Delivered into the epidural space by the tailbone, this injection option allows for a catheter to be placed, providing a great amount of medication to be administered. This allows for a greater amount of nerves to be treated at one time.

WHAT CONDITIONS DOES AN EPIDURAL STEROID INJECTION TREAT?

Patients who are experiencing prolonged pain in their neck, arms, back and legs, most often caused by inflamed spinal nerves due to certain conditions or injuries, could greatly benefit from an epidural steroid injection. Some conditions that epidural steroid injections treat include:

The main benefit with this type of injection is that patients can experience immediate pain relief so they get back to living their life. Not only do these injections provide immediate relief, they also allow patients a greater level of comfort so that they can endure needed physical therapy or other continuous non-surgical treatment options.

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WILL AN EPIDURAL STEROID INJECTION HELP ME?

If you suffer from intense or difficult-to-treat low back pain, neck pain, or chronic pain after surgery, an epidural steroid injection is a great option for you.

While some chronic pain can be due to injury or trauma, another common cause is due to the narrowing of nerve passages from the spine to the arms and legs that can cause inflammation of the spinal nerves. If the level of pain makes physical therapy unbearable, and surgical options aren’t an attractive or available option, an epidural steroid injection is a great way to enjoy immediate relief that is often very long lasting.

WHAT CAN I EXPECT DURING AND AFTER THE PROCEDURE?

Comfortable relief! An epidural steroid injection is generally an outpatient procedure, performed in your doctor’s office with the use of a local anesthetic. The doctor will use an X-ray machine to help guide the needle into the desired location in the epidural space where the irritated nerves are located. The doctor will then inject the steroid, which reduces inflammation and irritation, and an anesthetic, which helps with pain relief by blocking pain signal transmission. Both medicines then spread to other areas of the spine, achieving the same goal. The entire process takes around 30 minutes.

Because a local anesthetic was used, there is minimal recovery time. Patients can expect to rest for the remainder of the day, and use ice packs and/or over-the-counter pain medication when needed.

Each patient’s pain management differs, with results lasting anywhere from several weeks to a year. While most patients need just one injection, multiple injections might be needed to experience lasting and complete pain relief.

WHAT ARE THE RISKS ASSOCIATED WITH INJECTIONS?

Epidural steroid injections are considered a generally safe, routine treatment that is practically painless. While most patients experience complete pain relief after one injection, a second injection might be used for those who only experience moderate pain relief.

As with any medical procedure, there are risks, which could include:

It is important to speak with your provider because there are additional risks that are directly related to the steroid itself and any medications you might be taking. These risks include weight gain, anxiety, arthritis, stomach ulcers, and more.

WHO PERFORMS EPIDURAL STEROID INJECTIONS?

The Texas Pain Care team of doctors are highly trained in all forms of pain therapy injections, including epidural steroid injections. As with any medical procedure, it is important to place your trust in a doctor who can properly, safely and effectively perform an epidural procedure. If you are experiencing chronic low back pain, neck pain, and chronic pain after surgery, please make an appointment today to schedule an appointment with an expert Texas Pain Care pain management specialist in the Sugarland, Missouri City and Houston area. We are confident we can help you comfortably get out of pain, today and in the future.

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