How Do Spinal Injections Work?
Category: Injections | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: October 24, 2017
If you are dealing with spine pain caused by inflammation or an irritated nerve and conservative techniques haven’t helped to control the problem, your spine specialist may recommend spinal injections. But what is in one of these injections, and how do they work to control pain? We take a closer look at spinal injections in this blog.
What’s In A Spinal Injection?
To get a better understanding of spinal injections, we’re going to use an epidural steroid injection as an example. This type of injection is delivered to the epidural space in your spine, the area that encircles the dural sac. The dural sac surrounds the spinal cord, nerve roots and spinal fluid, and inflammation in this space can lead to compression and pain in any of the aforementioned structures.
The vast majority of epidural steroid injections are comprised of a couple of different agents, including cortisone (the steroid), a local anesthetic (like lidocaine or bupivacine) and/or a saline solutions. Here’s why each agent is included:
- Cortisone – The steroid that is injected acts an an anti-inflammatory agent. Since inflammation is a common cause of low back pain, cortisone helps to treat pain by reducing inflammation.
- Local Anesthetic – A local anesthetic like lidocaine or xylocaine is a fast-acting local anesthetic that provides temporary pain relief by numbing the injection site. Bupivacaine is a longer lasting anesthetic that is also used in some instances. Its primary role is pain relief, but it also can help to flush out some of the chemical or immunologic bodies that contribute to inflammation in the area.
- Saline – Saline solution helps to dilute the local anesthetic and to flush out bodies that promote inflammation.
Spinal injections are used to help treat a wide variety of spinal conditions, including nerve irritation caused by degenerative disc disease, disc herniation, spinal stenosis and vertebral fractures. While they can help calm irritation, injections will not completely address the problem unless they are paired with active treatment options, like exercise, physical therapy or chiropractic manipulation.
MN Spine Injection Doctor
So if nerve compression or spinal inflammation is causing your spine pain, ask your spine specialist if a spinal injection combined with conservative care techniques could help you achieve relief. Dr. Sinicropi has performed countless corticosteroid injections and helped patients find relief from their back pain, and he can do the same for you. For more information about spinal injections, check out some of the related blogs we’ve written on the subject, or reach out to Dr. Sinicropi today.