Even though epidural steroid injections are often used by women to make childbirth less painful, they have other benefits. Dr. Steven Ferrer and other pain management doctors may suggest epidural injections as a relief for back pain. If you are wondering if epidural injections are right for you, keep reading to find out.
What Are Epidural Steroid Injections?
An epidural steroid injection is an injection that delivers an anti-inflammatory medication to the spine. It is administered in the epidural space which is close to the sac that contains the spinal fluid.
The primary purpose of epidural injections is to reduce inflammation of the nerve roots. The injection has a saline solution that washes out proteins which could make the inflammation worse.
Inflammation causes pain as it exerts pressure on your nerves or nerve roots. Reducing inflammation reduces pain. Even though the injections don’t treat medical conditions, they relieve pain while you use other options to treat the underlying problem.
You may need a few injections in the long-run. They are typically administered in a series of three after every month. Your doctor may stop administering the injections if the pain has subsided significantly.
Do You Need Epidural Steroid Injections?
Epidural steroid injections are not appropriate for all types of back pain. They may not be a good option if you have general back pain that doesn’t go down to your leg.
Consider getting the injections if you experience pain that goes down your leg. If you have only gotten the treatment for a few days, you may need to wait. Doctors suggest that you wait until you’ve had the pain for six weeks or more before getting epidural steroid injections.
You should get the injections if you have any of the following conditions;
- Herniated discs
- Spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
You may not feel any difference immediately after treatment. For some patients, the pain may seem to get worse. You should feel the effects of the injections after two to three days. The full effects will be apparent in two weeks or so. You should, therefore, not expect to feel the results immediately.
If the area of injection feels tender, consider applying an ice pack a few times a day. You can continue to take your regular pain medication while you wait for the injection to kick in.
Restrictions After the Procedure
You have to observe certain restrictions after the procedure. On the day of the procedure, you must have someone to drive you home. You can’t drive or perform any strenuous activities.
You can’t apply heat on the areas where the injection was administered. Do not take a hot shower or soak in the water on the day of treatment.
There are no restrictions on the foods or drinks that you can take.
If you have had extreme back pain or sudden weakness of your legs, you may benefit from epidural steroid injections. However, you should consult your doctor before taking any steps. They will let you know if it is an option for you.