Back pain is fickle and frustrating. It can come from various causes and trigger a wide array of often debilitating symptoms. But whether your back pain is just a nagging ache or a sharp pain that stops you in your tracks, you may benefit from an epidural injection.
If you only know about the kind of epidurals used in the delivery room, you’re not alone. Many back pain sufferers don’t realize they can find potentially permanent pain relief in a simple injection.
At West Texas Pain Insititute in El Paso, Texas, Dr. Raul Lopez and our team of experts specialize in offering pain relief whether others have failed. Here, we take a closer look at how epidural injections work and what you can expect from your results.
To understand an epidural injection, you must first understand the epidural space. The epidural space is located in your spine between your vertebral wall and the dura mater membrane. There, you find fatty tissue, blood vessels, and nerves.
You’ll also find that the epidural space is where injuries and degenerative conditions cause painful inflammation. The resulting swelling compresses the nerves and leads to pain, stiffness, numbness, weakness, and other frustrating symptoms.
We use epidural injections to deliver powerful anti-inflammatory medication (corticosteroids) and an anesthetic, such as lidocaine, directly into this space to reduce the pressure on your nerves. Some of the most common causes of back pain we treat with epidural injections include:
With the pressure off your nerves, you feel less pain and can get back to doing the things you love.
Results from epidural injections vary widely. For some, the injections offer permanent relief quickly; for others, it takes a few injections to feel any effects. Typically, epidurals last for a few weeks to a few months, so we often recommend you get an epidural injection 3-6 times per year.
You may benefit from more frequent injections if you have an injury like a severe disc hernia. Injections spaced every 3-6 months are more common for treating chronic pain or recurrent injuries.
Typically, you notice less pain right away within the first 24-48 hours, with the best result developing over the following weeks.
Epidural injections are incredibly effective — and they’re also quite simple procedures. We begin by injecting a local anesthetic into the treatment area to keep you comfortable. Then, we use a special X-ray called fluoroscopy to locate the precise location for your injection. The fluoroscopy guides the needle into place, and then we slowly release the medication.
Most of our patients tolerate the procedure with little to no discomfort. You may experience a light tingling sensation as the medication floods your epidural area.
Right after your appointment, you should rest for the remainder of the day, but you don’t need to take any additional time off from your routine.
Yes, epidurals offer long-lasting pain fast, but that’s not all they can do. They are usually part of a larger plan to help you become pain-free.
We often use epidural injections to help us understand what’s causing your pain. If the injections work, we can pinpoint where the damage and swelling are and offer more treatment recommendations.
Furthermore, when you’re not in as much pain, you can focus on other treatments and therapies that help you heal.
If you’d like more information or want to see if you’re a candidate for epidural injections, don’t hesitate to request an appointment online or over the phone today.