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When You Should Consider Epidural Steroid Injections

Oct 01, 2020
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Back pain, especially in your lower back, has a way of hijacking every aspect of your life, making finding relief a priority. Here, we explore how an epidural steroid injection may be just the solution you’re looking for.

If you consider the role your lower back plays in your life, supporting your upper body and providing you with mobility and range of motion, it's little wonder that this hard-working area is vulnerable to painful problems. And when they strike, your life can be limited in some very significant ways.

To combat the pain and restore your quality of life, our experienced team of spine specialists here at Commonwealth Pain & Spine offers a number of effective solutions, including epidural steroid injections.

If you’re struggling to find relief from debilitating back pain, read on to see if an epidural steroid injection is right for you.

Going to the source

One of the many reasons why problems in your back can lead to such pain is the fact that your spine is the primary conduit for your nervous system. This means that you have many sensitive nerve roots along your spine, which when compressed, can lead to both local and radiating discomfort that can extend down your legs and arms.

Our goal with an epidural steroid injection is to deliver both an anti-inflammatory agent and analgesic into the space where your nerves are compromised — your epidural space. 

Your epidural space is a fat-filled area that surrounds and protects your spinal cord and houses sensitive nerve roots that branch out from your spine.

Once we locate the nerve roots we believe are responsible for the pain signaling, we use fluoroscopy (X-ray guidance) to guide a needle into the area so that we can deliver the steroid and analgesic.

The steroid component of this injection is important because inflammation is usually behind your nerve compression. Meanwhile, the analgesic that we include provides near-immediate relief from the pain.

Ultimately, our goal with an epidural steroid injection is to relieve the pain and inflammation long enough so that we can address the underlying problem to prevent a recurrence.

Back problems that an epidural steroid injection can treat

There are a number of issues that can lead to pain in your back, but epidural steroid injections are designed to tackle only those that involve nerve compression, which can occur because of:

While lower back pain is far more common, we can use epidural steroid injections anywhere along your spine, including your neck.

When it comes to results, it’s hard to predict. Some patients report a few weeks of relief while others enjoy a year or more of pain-free mobility. The only way to determine what your results will be is to have us perform the minimally invasive procedure to see how your body responds. Even if you only get relief for a few weeks, we have better information about the nerve involvement and can better determine next steps moving forward.

If you’d like to explore epidural steroid injections further, contact one of our 12 locations in St. Matthews, Elizabethtown, Lexington, Crestview Hills, Owensboro, and London, Kentucky; Evansville, Vincennes, New Albany, Carrollton, and Jasper, Indiana; and Mt. Carmel, Illinois, to set up an appointment.