While epidural steroid injections (ESIs) have been around for quite some time now, they remain an invaluable pain management modality – a godsend for people who suffer from neck or back pain that is not responsive to pain medications or physical therapy.
In this post, we will explore how epidural steroid injections are used and why they are an effective form of pain management. We will also discuss some of the potential side effects associated with this treatment. So, if you are struggling with chronic neck or back pain, read on to learn more about epidural steroid injections and see if this treatment might be right for you.
How Are Epidural Steroid Injections Administered?
The term “epidural steroid injection” is ascribed to where the medication is administered. The procedure involves an orthopedic doctor or pain management specialist injecting a solution that contains corticosteroid, which is an anti-inflammatory medication, and a numbing agent (anesthetic) directly into the epidural space. The epidural space is the area around the spinal cord, right outside of the membrane that protects it (dura mater).
The corticosteroid works by flushing away the proteins that cause inflammation and irritation to the nerves; while the anesthetic blocks the pain signals from traveling from your spine to your brain.
ESI procedures are done under image guidance (X-ray) to ensure that the medication is injected into the precise location in the spine – as close as possible to the nerve roots, which are responsible for transmitting the pain signals.
ESIs are usually administered in a series of sessions, spaced several weeks apart. The number of injections you need depends on the severity of your pain and your body’s response to the treatment. The entire procedure usually takes less than 30 minutes.
Potential Side Effects of ESIs
While ESIs are generally safe, they do have a few side effects. The most common side effect is a temporary increase in pain immediately after the injection, which should disappear within a few days. The following are the other potential – but rare – side effects of ESIs.
- Nerve damage
- Allergic reactions to the medication
Pain Management Doctor in St. Peters, O’Fallon, & Wentzville, MO
At Advanced Bone & Joint, our multispecialty team includes highly credentialed orthopedic specialists and a pain management physician who are deeply committed to providing top-notch care. We offer a vast array of pain management options – including epidural steroid injections –all aimed at helping patients regain their normal function and ultimately break free from the pain and limitations imposed by their conditions.
Call our friendly staff today at (636) 229-4222 to learn more about our services or to schedule a visit with one of our providers. Alternatively, you may use our appointment request form. We look forward to serving you!