West Texas Pain Institute
Pain Management Physicians located in El Paso, TX
If you live with chronic low back pain or experience pain, numbness, or weakness in your legs, you may benefit from epidural injections. At West Texas Pain Institute, Raul Lopez, MD, provides epidural injections to reduce inflammation in your spine and interrupt dysfunctional pain messages traveling between your body and your brain. Call the El Paso, Texas, office or schedule a consultation online today to learn how epidural injections can help you.
Epidural Injection Q & A
What is an epidural injection?
The epidural space is part of your spine located between your vertebral wall and dura mater membrane. It houses fatty tissue and blood vessels. Injuries and degenerative conditions can cause inflammation in your epidural space, and the swelling compresses the nerves passing through your spine, leading to pain, stiffness, and radiating numbness or weakness in your extremities.
An epidural injection delivers a corticosteroid — a strong anti-inflammatory medicine — directly into the inflamed tissue in your spine to relieve your pain and related symptoms.
What conditions benefit from epidural injections?
Dr. Lopez uses epidural injections to relieve a variety of conditions, including:
- Low back pain
- Numbness or tingling in your legs
- Post-surgical pain
Epidural injections can also reduce the pain associated with spinal stenosis, herniated discs, and degenerative disc disease. You can have an epidural injection anywhere in your spine, but it’s most common to have the shots in your lower back.
How do epidural injections work?
Epidural injections reduce inflammation and swelling in your spine that compresses your nerves. Steroids disrupt the chemical and mechanical sources of pain and reduce your immunologic response to tissue damage, which reduces inflammation. Reducing inflammation relieves not only musculoskeletal pain, but reduces pain and other disruptive symptoms caused by nerve compression.
What happens during an epidural injection?
Dr. Lopez provides epidural injections on an outpatient basis, and the procedure only takes a few minutes. You lay on your stomach or your side and Dr. Lopez injects a local anesthetic to keep you comfortable.
He uses fluoroscopy — a special type of X-ray with contrast dye — to identify the precise location for your injection and to guide the needle. When the needle is in the correct position, Dr. Lopez slowly releases the medication, which is typically a combination of a corticosteroid and an anesthetic, such as lidocaine.
You shouldn’t experience any pain during your procedure. Some patients report a tingling sensation as the injection fluid floods the epidural area. You should take it easy for the rest of the day, but you shouldn’t need to take additional time off to recover.
You should begin to notice a reduction in pain in the 24-48 hours following treatment. Your symptoms should continue to improve in the following weeks.
Call West Texas Pain Institute or make an appointment online today to find out if epidural injections are right for you.