Back pain is very common, and people of all ages can experience it. It can dramatically affect your daily routine, making it difficult to function at home, work, or school. Some pain can be easily treated with over-the-counter medications. However, this may not work for chronic lower back pain. A lot of lower back pain conditions can be treated with epidural steroid injections.
What Is Epidural Steroid Injection?
An epidural steroid injection, also known as ESI, is an injection of an anti-inflammatory medication called glucocorticoid to relieve pain. ESI is injected into the epidural space, the area of fatty tissue around the spinal nerve. This area is a common source of lower back pain. These injections can both treat and diagnose the specific nerve root problem.
Epidural steroid injections are not advised for patients who have weak joints or infections in the injection site. Your doctor will not immediately prescribe epidural steroid injections for your back pain. Once other treatments do not work for your symptoms, your doctor will explore epidural steroid injections as a treatment.
How Do Epidural Steroid Injections Work For Spinal Pain?
Epidural steroid injections are a nonsurgical treatment option for chronic lower back problems. It is injected directly near the pained or inflamed area, into the tunnel where the nerves are. It mimics the effects of the hormones cortisone and hydrocortisone, temporarily reducing inflammation and relieving pain.
Epidural steroid injections are an outpatient procedure that take only 5 to 10 minutes to complete, with an additional recovery time of 15 to 20 minutes. You will need to wear a hospital gown, and your lower back will be sterilized and anesthetized. Your doctor will administer the injection with you either sitting up or lying on your stomach.
With the assistance of fluoroscopy and contrast dye, your doctor will insert the needle in the epidural space. The medication is then injected in the epidural space, after which your doctor will remove the needle. Epidural steroid injections require a doctor with great skill as the injections should be administered accurately to avoid complications.
You will be given instructions regarding any mild pain you can experience. You will be prohibited from driving yourself home after the procedure. However, most patients can resume their routines the following day. The steroids will take effect two to seven days after being administered. Results typically last for several weeks or months.
Some Risks of Epidural Steroid Injections
Like any other treatment, epidural steroid injections can have some side effects. However, your doctor will assess your health and discuss any potential risks prior to administering the injection. Some risk factors for epidural steroid injections are:
- Increased blood sugar. As steroids mimic cortisones, it affects the cortisone’s work in maintaining healthy glucose levels in the body.
- High blood pressure. As cortisones are involved in regulating the balance of water, sodium, and electrolytes in the body, the treatment can promote fluid retention.
- A dose of more than 30 milligrams of steroids can affect your mood.
- Weight gain. Steroids can also affect your body’s metabolism and increase your appetite, resulting in weight gain.
- If an inexperienced doctor administered your ESI, it can result in an infection. This is why it’s important clean the site before administering the injection and look out for signs of issues afterward.
Epidural Steroid Injections in Washington And New Mexico
Chronic back pain can significantly affect your daily activities. Although there are some minor risks with epidural steroid injections, there are many more benefits from it. Choose a board-certified doctor for your epidural steroid injection treatment, so you know you will be well taken care of.
The providers at Lynx Healthcare are board-certified and pride themselves in delivering the best healthcare to all patients. To discuss whether epidural steroid injections are right for your back pain, make an appointment with us today.
You may contact us at (509) 591-0070, or you may skip the phone lines and book an appointment online.