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When Is an Epidural Injection Appropriate?

At the West Texas Pain Institute, it’s our goal to help you live a pain-free life. To achieve that, we provide you with the very best pain management treatments available that address your pain at its source.

One of these treatments is epidural injection — a minimally invasive procedure that delivers small doses of powerful anti-inflammatory medicine into the epidural space in your spine. This is the area between the wall of your vertebrae and the membrane called the dura mater. The epidural space lies next to the dural sac, which is filled with cerebrospinal fluid to protect your nerves. When you sustain an injury or have a degenerative condition, the epidural space often becomes inflamed, compresses your nerves, and triggers pain. 

Dr. Raul Lopez specializes in using epidural injections to neutralize the painful inflammation and swelling, interrupt pain signals traveling to your brain, and alleviate your symptoms. Here’s a closer look at some of the most common reasons we recommend epidural injections. 

Conditions that can be helped by epidural injections

Epidural injections are versatile treatments that can address a wide variety of painful conditions. They’re also minimally invasive, outpatient, and highly tolerable procedures, which makes them a great option if you want to avoid surgery and other more aggressive procedures. 

Dr. Lopez takes the time to review your symptoms and your health history to determine if epidural injections are right for you. Here are a few of the conditions that often warrant epidural injections. 

Back pain

Nearly 65 million American adults live with back pain, with an additional 16 million suffering from persistent or chronic back pain. Back pain can stem from a wide range of problems, and back pain treatments are just as varied. That’s where epidural injections come in.

We recommend epidural injections if your back pain is caused by:

Typically, we administer epidural injections into your lower back, but they can address problems anywhere in your spine. 

Post-surgical pain

The recovery period after surgery can be fraught with long periods of pain. If you’re struggling to find relief from post-surgical pain, an epidural injection is a safe way to help you stop hurting. And because it’s minimally invasive, it won’t compromise the recovery process. 

Leg numbness or tingling

Pain isn’t the only symptom associated with inflammation and swelling in your spine. The pressure on your nerves can be painful, but it can also irritate nerves connected to other parts of your body, including your legs. When those nerves are affected by an injury or inflammatory condition in your spine, you may notice tingling or numbness in your legs. 

Epidural injections and their ability to reduce the swelling that compresses the nerves in your spine can alleviate your other frustrating symptoms, as well. 

What to expect from an epidural injection

During your epidural injection, you lie either on your stomach or your side. Dr. Lopez begins by injecting a local anesthetic to keep you completely comfortable during your treatment. Then, he uses a special type of X-ray called fluoroscopy, which uses contrast dye to guide the needle and help him identify the exact location for your injection. 

Once the needle is in the correct position, Dr. Lopez slowly releases the medication into your epidural space. You shouldn’t experience any pain during your treatment, but it’s not uncommon for the procedure to cause a tingling sensation and the medication is released. 

Epidural injections don’t require any real downtime. In fact, you get to go home right after the procedure, but we do recommend that you rest for the remainder of the day. After about 24-48 hours, you should start to notice relief from your pain and other symptoms. Your results continue to improve over the following weeks. 

If you have more questions about epidural injections and whether they’re right for you, request an appointment online or over the phone at our El Paso, Texas, office today. 

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