If you struggle with back pain, you aren’t alone. Studies show that about 23% of adults worldwide experience chronic low back pain. This condition can be frustrating and debilitating.
Many treatments are available to help alleviate your back pain, including medications, physical therapy, and even surgery. However, one treatment option that has gained popularity in recent years is the epidural injection.
An epidural steroid injection (ESI) is different from epidural anesthesia, which is given during labor and childbirth or before other types of surgery. An ESI relieves chronic pain with anti-inflammatory medication.
Here at University Pain Medicine Center, our pain management team offers lumbar epidurals or lumbar ESIs to provide you with the relief you need and deserve.
An epidural injection explained
An epidural injection involves injecting corticosteroid medication directly into the epidural space of your spine, which is found around the spinal cord and nerve roots. The medication bathes the area, reducing the pressure on and swelling of irritated nerves, which soothes them and alleviates your pain.
Your injections should start working within 2-7 days, and you can rely on the treatment to take effect for days to months and possibly even longer.
How an epidural alleviates back pain
Epidural injections can help alleviate your back pain by reducing inflammation and/or blocking pain signals from reaching your brain.
When you stop feeling pain, your body can focus its energy on healing rather than managing pain, which can get you back to a pain-free life.
What to expect during an epidural injection
If an epidural injection is the right treatment option for your back pain, here’s what you can expect:
Before your procedure, you’ll change into a hospital gown and lie on a table. We then clean and sterilize the injection site.
Next, we inject local anesthesia to numb the injection site. We can also provide sedation to help you relax, as needed.
Using a special needle, we insert the medication into the epidural space of your spine. You may feel pressure or a mild burning sensation, but you shouldn’t feel any pain.
Once your treatment is complete, we will monitor you for a short time. You may feel some numbness or weakness in your legs, but this should subside within a few hours.
Be sure to have someone drive you home as a safety precaution.
Understanding the risks associated with epidural injections
Like any medical procedure, there are some risks associated with epidural injections. These may include:
- Infection at the injection site
- Bleeding at the injection site
- Nerve damage resulting in pain, numbness, or weakness
- Allergic reaction if you’re allergic to the medication used in the injection
The risks associated with epidural injections are generally low; most people experience no complications. You can rely on our team for our knowledge and expertise when administering the epidural procedure. We also learn if you’re allergic to certain medications so that we can take the appropriate precautions.
The bottom line
An epidural injection can be a highly effective treatment option for back pain. Our goal is to help you get back to feeling like yourself again. If you’re considering an epidural injection, talk to a medical professional from our team to see if it’s right for you.
Simply call our friendly office staff today at one of our six locations in New Jersey, or use the online booking tool at your convenience to schedule a visit.