If you are a person who endures chronic pain, it is easy to want to ignore the pain until it subsides, or calms down. However, it is not as always that simple, as chronic pain is often strong and persistent. Pain relief for those who struggle with debilitating pain that often makes your favorite activities and living life a daily struggle, seems like a dream sometimes. This can often leave us feeling depressed and frustrated. The good news is, there are many different treatments out there for pain sufferers, and sometimes it just takes the right one to get the job done.
The goal of pain management is to eliminate or reduce your pain so that you can live a healthy, active, and productive lifestyle. To accomplish this, our pain management doctors may recommend interventional procedures, physical therapy, medication, or a combination of treatments to help you manage and reduce pain caused by a variety of orthopedic or neurological conditions and injuries.
According to statistics gathered by United healthcare, ninety percent of people will suffer from low back pain at some point in their lives. If you are a person in this category, your pain management specialist will possibly treat your chronic pain with a procedure called an epidural steroid injection (ESI).
Epidural injections are used for managing pain in the spine when other treatments have failed. If you have tried taking over-the-counter pain medication and anti-inflammatory medication, these are more temporary solutions, and there may come a time when you need something different or stronger, that can offer extended relief from chronic pain.
Treating pain generally takes more than one type of therapy in order to provide long-term results. Physical therapy, massage, medicine, or surgery alone is usually not enough to provide the type of relief our patients desire. An epidural injection might be the solution.
What is an Epidural Injection?
We commonly here the word epidural, as being used to control pain during childbirth. However, in this case, an epidural injection is called a steroid injection. Similar to a cortisone injection for treating joint pain, an ESI delivers anesthetics and steroids to treat spinal pain: cervical spine, upper/mid-back (thoracic spine), and most commonly for low back (lumbar spine).
An epidural injection is a minimally-invasive solution for pain caused by inflammation. In the case of someone suffering from back pain, the injection solution, which is a mixture of corticosteroid and an anesthetic pain reliever, takes pressure off the inflamed spinal nerves. The anesthetic serves to immediately relieve pain during the procedure while the corticosteroid takes more time to go into effect. The injection effectively delivers the medicine, directly and accurately to the source of your pain.
Common pain conditions treated with epidural injections include:
- Persistent back pain and neck pain
- Joint and muscle pain
- Degenerative disc disease
- Peripheral neuropathy
Pain is a symptom. It can result from disease, such as arthritis or cancer, or injuries that happen during physical activity (sports, work, or at home). When the pain gets so severe that your daily activities become unbearable, it’s time to see a specialist.
Pain is a natural part of life, but it doesn’t have to control your life. At Lynx Healthcare, our board-certified, fellowship-trained interventional pain medicine doctors believe in this notion, and are leaders specializing in non-surgical care for treating chronic pain affecting the spine. Whether your pain stems from a sports injury, work accident, or other trauma or health condition, we target your pain right at the source.
Your customized pain management treatment plan begins as soon as we have an accurate diagnosis. An interventional pain management strategy may include epidural steroid injections, facet joint injections, spinal cord stimulation, radiofrequency ablation, or trigger point injections, or a combination of therapies to reduce inflammation and restore your mobility. We find that at an interventional approach to pain provides longer lasting relief that can help patients postpone or avoid the need for surgery. Since our techniques are non-surgical, or minimally invasive, you are typically able to resume normal activities with very little downtime.
Many patients’ pain is eased after the treatment. This pain relief is often enough to allow the patient to rehabilitate the injured portion of their body, ensuring that the pain is less even after the injection wears off. The effects of the injection tend to vary with each recipient. Some patients only feel the effects for a week, some for a year, and some may not feel the effects at all. However, most people do feel the effects of the injection for a significant amount of time.
As mentioned before, in some cases, epidural injections can help you avoid or postpone spine surgery.
It is important to note, that results will vary for every individual, but you can expect several weeks or months of relief from back pain or neck pain.
The epidural injection can be repeated for extended relief, and how often an epidural steroid injection is repeated, varies with the patient and the severity of their condition. If your pain relief from the injection is significant, you may receive up to three injections in a year-long period. If the treatment is only mildly effective, one to two additional injections may be administered in one to four week intervals, to achieve the maximal results.
Our practice has helped thousands of patients suffering from chronic pain conditions find long-term relief from their pain symptoms. We have the experience and knowledge to diagnose your pain, and design a treatment plan that will provide pain relief, hopefully avoid the need for surgery, and most importantly, get you back to doing the activities that you love.
To learn more about epidural injections, and how they may be able to relieve your chronic pain, call Lynx Healthcare at (509) 591-0070 or at (509) 321-4575 to request an appointment.