Epidural steroid injections (ESIs) deliver anti-inflammatory medication into the epidural space of the spine in order to soothe inflammation and pain. This method helps relieve inflammation that originates in the spine and radiates to the lower back, hips, or leg.
This treatment is particularly helpful in relieving pain caused by a herniated disc in the spine.
An ESI is different from epidural anesthesia, which is given to a pregnant woman right before giving birth or to a patient who is about to have one of several types of surgery.
Why Should I Get an Epidural Steroid Injection?
Pain that radiates from the spine can be caused by a bone spur in the spine, herniated disc, cysts, or even the abnormal alignment of the vertebrae. By administering steroids directly into the patient’s epidural space, the pain that comes with these complications can be temporarily stopped.
The epidural space is a sort of sleeve filled with fat that surrounds the spinal sac. It provides a layer of protective cushioning for the nerves and spinal cord.
Benefits of Epidural Steroid Injections
When properly administered by a medical professional, epidural steroid injections can be beneficial in the following ways:
Alternative to Surgery
Having ESI treatment can cancel the need for spinal surgery. Because epidural steroid injections are minimally invasive, the body heals more fully from this treatment as compared to invasive surgical procedures.
ESI treatment is also much cheaper than spine surgery. Although it usually requires repeated treatments, it costs less and doesn’t require months of healing as surgery would.
The injection quickly alleviates the pain felt in the back, neck, arms, legs, or other areas of the body that are affected by that portion of the spinal cord. With the inflammation tamped down by the steroid medicine, any areas that are affected are no longer under duress.
Having an ESI can help your body function better. Although the underlying cause of the pain is only dormant, the injection relieves the discomfort brought about by the inflammation.
The improvements felt after having an EPI treatment can last for several months. Some patients pair this treatment with other medications and/or with physical therapy to maximize its benefits.
Can ESI Treat All Kinds of Back-Related Pain?
ESI may actually be detrimental in the case of spinal stenosis, or narrowing of the spine. Talk to your doctor about your pain-relief options if you have spinal stenosis.
If you are going to talk to your doctor about receiving an epidural steroid injection, be sure to discuss the potential risks and side effects that come with this form of treatment. Also, make sure that your doctor has plenty of experience in administering this treatment. Administering a steroid incorrectly can lead to complications for the patient.
Talk to an Orthopedic Doctor in St. Louis
If you’re experiencing unexplained pain in your back, leg, arm, or neck, it may be due to inflammation of your spine or the surrounding areas. Contact our medical team for a consultation with an experienced orthopedic surgeon who specializes in treating back pain.
Call us today at (636) 229-4222, or request an appointment by filling out our simple online form. Let us help you get back to the active, pain-free lifestyle you enjoy.