Suffering from spinal conditions can leave you in a great deal of pain, sometimes debilitating pain, and you might feel like you’ll never get your life back. It starts when conservative treatments bring little to no relief, which oftentimes is the case.
If you’ve been putting up with back discomfort for too long, it’s time to consider an epidural steroid injection.
At Peninsula Orthopedic Associates, our skilled team will help you determine if you’re a candidate for an epidural steroid injection. If we think this treatment will significantly lessen your pain, one of our talented surgeons goes over everything you need to know before your procedure.
Epidural injections: What are they?
Epidural steroid injections are a minimally invasive treatment for pain in your back and neck. The injection goes into the epidural space in your spine, which is the area between your spinal bones and your nerves. The steroid provides relief from inflammation, which in many instances is the root cause of the pain.
When you get the epidural injection, our doctors use imaging to make sure the needle is in the exact spot it needs to be. Depending on where you’re experiencing pain, there are three places to introduce the steroid into your epidural space:
This injection is placed between two vertebrae into the epidural space in your spine. It provides wide relief for a variety of back conditions.
This injection goes into the sacral area of your spine, below your lumbar vertebrae. It’s mainly used if you’re suffering from back pain that radiates to one or both of your legs.
This injection is most often used as a type of nerve block for pain. The needle is placed through a hole in the vertebrae in the side of the spine. Once in, it can enter the epidural space for the injection.
Although epidural injections are a great option for back pain, they aren’t a long-term fix for your condition. They do, however, provide significant relief if you’re having a flare-up of severe pain.
Conditions that may benefit from an epidural injection
If you’ve suffered from chronic back pain for a long time, you’re probably wondering what types of treatment options may offer you relief. The good news is that epidural steroid injections can prove effective against many different spinal conditions, including:
- Spinal stenosis
- Herniated disc
- Slipped vertebrae
- Degenerative disc disease
- Bone spurs
- Thickened ligaments
Any or all of these conditions may benefit from epidural injections for short-term relief from pain. People who have sciatica, which is pain that shoots down your leg from your sciatic nerve, usually get significant relief with steroid injections.
Our doctors may also recommend that you start physical therapy or an organized therapeutic exercise regimen to increase your chances of pain relief from the injection. You may also need to make some lifestyle changes to get the most out of the treatment.
How long you benefit from an epidural steroid injection varies from person to person. Once you feel some relief, it may last for just a few weeks or several months.
After your injection
Following your injection, you’re usually able to return home and resume your normal activities. Before you’re discharged, our team goes over aftercare instructions with you. This includes looking out for such side effects as:
- Sleep disturbances
- Menstrual changes
- Water retention
- Pain following the injection
- Allergic reaction
You should begin to feel some improvement within a few days after your procedure. Sometimes, though, it can take up more than a week for you to get the full effect of the steroid medication.
Don’t continue to suffer from debilitating back pain. Call one of our four offices in Daly City, San Francisco or Atherton, California, to schedule a consultation for an epidural, or book an appointment online today.
You can also send a message to the Peninsula Orthopedic Associates team here on our website.