Neck and back pain can stop you in your tracks. If the condition causing your pain is compressing or “pinching” a spinal nerve, you may also experience sharp pain traveling into your arm or leg with weakness or loss of normal function in the affected extremity.
Nerve compression in the lower back creates nerve symptoms (radiculopathy) in your legs. Damage in the cervical spine creates issues in your shoulders and arms. Radiculopathy may respond well to an epidural steroid injection.
Dr. Desh Sahni is an award-winning spine specialist here at Capital Brain and Spine in Austin, Texas, who often employs epidural steroid injections in his multilayered approach to treating neck and back pain.
Dr. Sahni cautions that these injections will not necessarily “fix” the condition causing your symptoms, but they can provide weeks to months of pain relief as they reduce the inflammation affecting your nerves.
Epidural steroid injections aren’t used to treat a specific condition. Rather, the injection acts as an anti-inflammatory that helps reduce the nerve irritation causing your pain.
Changes in the tissues in your spine that surround nerve roots can compress or pinch your nerves as they travel through or exit your spine. These conditions include:
There is certainly the possibility that the anti-inflammatory action of the epidural steroid injection can help prevent pain as your body recovers from an injury. And because steroid injections typically include an anesthetic, you may feel immediate pain relief that lasts several hours to days.
Again, however, just as we may recommend aspirin to reduce your fever without curing your cold, we consider an epidural steroid injection only part of your treatment plan.
When combined with a well-rounded treatment strategy that may include rehabilitation with physical therapy, chiropractic care, acupuncture, and other conservative therapies, Dr. Sahni may recommend a steroid injection to:
Every therapy carries a certain degree of risk. But when delivered by an experienced spine specialist like Dr. Sahni, these injections are considered safe.
The injections are delivered directly into the epidural space, which encircles the dural sac surrounding your spinal cord, nerve roots, and cerebrospinal fluid. Dr. Sahni uses fluoroscopy, a type of real-time X-ray, as a guide to ensure precise placement of the injection.
It’s a relatively quick in-office procedure that takes place at Capital Brain and Spine. You can expect to rest comfortably on your stomach for the injection. The targeted injection site is numbed with local anesthetic to prevent discomfort. You may notice a pressure sensation as the steroid is injected, but the procedure is otherwise painless.
After the injection, we typically monitor you in the office for 15-20 minutes and then discharge you home with detailed aftercare instructions.
For expert solutions to your neck or back pain that may include an epidural steroid injection, schedule a visit at Capital Brain and Spine today. Call the office or request your appointment online.