The Science Behind Epidural Injections

If your back is out of commission, it’s hard to get through your daily routine. The most basic movements like bending, twisting, and lifting can seem impossible — even sitting and standing are a chore. 

From serums to surgeries, there are countless treatments that promise to rid you of your back pain, but they often fail to give you lasting relief.    

At West Texas Pain Institute, Dr. Raul Lopez and our experienced team know how debilitating back pain can be. That’s why we offer innovative approaches to pain management. One of our most effective treatment options is an epidural injection. Here’s how it works.

The science behind epidural injections

You’ve likely heard about epidural injections helping pregnant women get through labor. Doctors administer an anesthetic through a needle into a woman’s back, allowing her to deliver a baby with significantly less pain.

Epidural injections for your back pain are similar, but they also contain a powerful anti-inflammatory medicine called corticosteroids in addition to an anesthetic.  

The medicine is injected into the epidural space in your back, which is the fluid-filled area surrounding your spinal cord. 

Your epidural space is often where painful inflammation accumulates as the result of injury or other degenerative conditions. This inflammation puts an inordinate amount of stress on your nerves, causing significant pain along with other symptoms like stiffness and numbness in your legs. 

Once injected, the anesthetic in the injection offers immediate relief by coating your irritated nerves in a strong numbing agent called lidocaine.

While lidocaine helps you feel better right away, the corticosteroids get to work reducing the inflammation in your back, which relieves the pressure on your nerves and gives you pain relief that lasts. The amount of time you’re pain-free, you can participate fully in physical therapy and other healing treatments.   

How can epidural injections help you?

Other back pain treatments fail because they don’t get to the source of your pain. Our epidural injections address the root cause of your back pain because they go directly into your inflamed, damaged tissues. 

Epidural injections can reduce the pain and other symptoms associated with a wide variety of issues, including:

No matter what’s causing the nerve and tissue damage in your back, epidural injections are effective in reducing inflammation and alleviating your symptoms. Although an epidural injection can’t repair damaged tissue or cure degenerative diseases, it’s often all you need to manage the pain and live with the condition comfortably. 

What should you expect from your epidural injection?

Before your first injection, Dr. Lopez conducts a thorough review of your symptoms and medical history to ensure that epidural injections are right for you. 

When you arrive for treatment, you lie comfortably on your stomach or your side as Dr. Lopez injects a mild local anesthetic to keep you completely relaxed during treatment. 

A special type of X-ray called fluoroscopy guides the needle exactly where it needs to go. With the needle in the correct position, Dr. Lopez slowly releases the medicine into your back. 

You’ll likely feel a tingling sensation as the medicine begins to flow into your epidural space, but the injection itself is virtually painless. 

What’s best is that epidural injections are a quick outpatient procedure. It should only take a few minutes, and you’ll be able to get back to your normal routine shortly after treatment. You’ll notice that your symptoms have improved within the first 24-48 hours with the results continuing to improve in the following weeks. 

When you’re ready to finally be free of your back pain, call our El Paso, Texas office at 915-229-5013, or schedule an appointment online today. 

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