What is an epidural injection?
This pain-relieving treatment is named after the area where it’s injected — the epidural space of your spine. The epidural space lies between the spine and a membrane that covers the spinal cord. When an injection is placed into the epidural space, the fluid can cover a larger area and flow around nerves, surrounding them with pain-relieving medication.
The doctors at TriMed Spine & Joint administer epidural injections containing DEPO-MEDROL®, a slow-releasing and long-acting steroid that dramatically reduces inflammation. As the swelling and inflammation caused by nerve compression go down, you experience pain relief.
When would I need an epidural steroid injection?
Epidural injections are used to relieve pain that’s caused by inflamed nerves in your spine. Several conditions that compress spinal nerves and cause inflammation include:
- Herniated disc: the disc bulges out between its adjoining vertebrae
- Spinal stenosis: narrowing of the spinal canal
- Degenerative disc disease: discs weaken and collapse
In some cases, the team at TriMed Spine & Joint may recommend an epidural injection to relieve pain caused by fractured vertebrae.
What results can I expect?
The goal of an epidural injection is pain relief, improved function, and a better quality of life. However, each patient responds differently. Pain relief can vary from no relief to 100% pain relief, and your results may last for a day or for several years.
Despite the variability in results, studies show that epidural injections allow more than 60% of patients with a herniated disc to avoid surgery.
One of the great benefits of an epidural injection is that the pain relief allows you to fully participate in physical therapy, which keeps your muscles strong, reduces inflammation, and helps maintain a range of motion. The positive effects of physical therapy help to sustain your pain relief after your epidural injection wears off.
What should I expect during and after an epidural injection?
Your doctor at Florida Back Institute administers epidural injections using fluoroscopy. Fluoroscopy is a specialized X-ray that provides real-time images used by doctors to guide the needle into the exact area where the nerves are compressed.
The doctors do not give general anesthesia or sedating medications. They believe it’s important for you to be alert so you can tell them if your pain worsens during the procedure. While there are risks associated with epidural injections, they rarely occur. Your doctor explains the details prior to your procedure.
If you suffer from chronic back or neck pain, call TriMed Spine & Joint or book an appointment online.