If you have lower back pain or leg pain, you may want to consider epidural steroid injections (ESIs). ESIs have been used to treat lower back and leg pain, and have become an integral aspect when it comes to the nonsurgical management of lower back pain and sciatica. “Epidural steroid injection” gets its name since it involves the direct injection of a steroid medication and local anesthetic into the epidural space surrounding the nerve roots and spinal cord.
What An Epidural Steroid Injection Does:
- Allows the patient to participate in and make progress with a comprehensive rehabilitation and physical therapy program
- Improves function and mobility in the lower legs and back
- Alleviates pain through reducing inflammation in and around the nerve roots
An epidural steroid injection is typically recommended before surgery is considered and after the patient has already tried a series of nonsurgical treatments, like physical therapy and medication. The injection is usually employed to alleviate pain sufficiently for the patient to return to everyday activities and progress in physical therapy.
How Can An Epidural Steroid Injection Help?
The majority of practitioners agree that an ESI can positively benefit an acute episode of back and/or leg pain. However, they may not always be effective, and even when it is effective, relief from pain is only temporary and can last anywhere from one week up to a year. If the initial injection offers relief, a medical provider may administer up to three injections in a year.
Administering An Epidural Steroid Injection
There are several techniques for administering an epidural injection, and the specific form of administration depends on the individual patient’s needs, condition, and doctor’s preference. This kind of injection can significantly and acutely relieve pain since it directly introduces a steroid medication with strong anti-inflammatory effects into the source of the pain near the spinal nerve(s). Any of the following approaches may be used to give an epidural injection:
- Interlaminar route: The needle is inserted from the back of the spine to deposit the medication into the epidural space. This method is not as precise since the steroid solution can spread within the epidural space as it is not directly deposited near the target nerve root.
- Transforaminal route: This technique precisely administers the steroid solution into the epidural space by the area where the nerve may be irritated. This injection technique controls pain and inflammation by targeting specific nerve roots.
- Caudal route: This is a more general approach that is the simplest to administer, but the medication doesn’t directly go to the source of the pain around the nerves and in the epidural space. The caudal approach may not be as effective, but is easier to administer and considered safer. Typically this method is used to help alleviate diffused or widespread pain.
The type of technique used depends on the experience and skill of the doctor, the patient’s unique diagnoses, the use of guided fluoroscopy, and the results from previous treatments for similar diagnoses and symptoms.
Contact Us Today
If you or somebody you love is affected by sciatica or lower back pain, call The Spine and Scoliosis Center to schedule an appointment at any of our Florida locations today.