Category: Injections | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: August 4, 2022
If back pain is making it too hard for you to pursue non-operative treatment techniques like exercise and physical therapy, your spine specialist may recommend that you consider an epidural steroid injection (ESI). These injections deliver a targeted steroid into an affected space to calm inflammation and reduce symptoms, making it easier to pursue other helpful treatments. They can be the perfect solution for the right patient, but they aren’t considered a permanent option.
That’s because the effects of epidural steroid injections fade over time. So how long do these injections tend to provide relief, and what can you do to get the most out of an ESI? We explore those questions and more in today’s blog.
How Long Are Epidural Steroid Injections Effective?
There’s no way to know exactly how long an epidural steroid injection will provide pain relief for a patient. Pain relief is oftentimes very quick due to the local anesthetic and the early effects of the steroid, so many people are already feeling fewer symptoms before they leave the clinic. Your provider can try to give you a better estimate for how long the specific injection you received should last, but typically they are effective for anywhere from a couple weeks to a year.
It’s also worth noting that the effectiveness of these injections tends to decrease the more they are administered as your body begins to get used to the presence of the steroid. The anti-inflammatory effects of the injection may not be as strong or last as long if you have received a number of spinal injections over the years, which is why it is so important to make the most out of an ESI when it is the most effective.
But how can you ensure that you are getting the most out of the relief provided by your epidural steroid injection? You’ll want to cover this with your treating surgeon prior to receiving an injection, but in most cases it involves a combination of active treatments that are designed to strengthen the supportive structures around the painful area or stabilize the entire spinal column. Some of the more common active treatment options that may be paired with an epidural steroid injection include:
- Physical Therapy
- Low-Impact Exercise
- Stretching Techniques
- Manual Therapy
Basically, any physical action that helps to strengthen structures in your spine will be beneficial, because this will help your spine better handle stress and reduce the likelihood of an inflammatory reaction caused by excess pressure. Take advantage of the pain relief provided by an epidural space injection, and you can essentially prolong the effectiveness of the injection because you’ll be working to alleviate symptoms while they are at their lightest.
Dr. Sinicropi and his team have a coveted track record of successful epidural steroid injections, and he knows how to talk with his patients to ensure they pair the injection with the right additional treatments to maximize its effectiveness. For more information about ESIs or another type of spinal injection, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today at (651) 430-3800.