Category: Back Pain, Injections | Author: Stefano Sinicropi
We have talked briefly about epidural injections on this site before. Now, let’s take a look at some specific questions many patients have about epidurals. In this article, we are going to provide some advice by answering frequently asked questions about epidural injections.
What is an Epidural?
An Epidural Steroid Injection (ESI) is a spinal injection that uses corticosteroids to reduce pain in the back, neck, or legs. The procedure is performed under mild sedative and local anesthesia, and is relatively painless.
This video gives a good visual of the procedure: http://www.spine-health.com/treatment/injections/lumbar-epidural-steroid-injections-low-back-pain-and-sciatica
When are Epidurals Useful?
Epidurals are often given during childbirth to decrease the mother’s pain. But epidurals can be used for other means as well. ESIs are commonly used to treat sciatica, and other nerve-related conditions. They are most often used to treat pain in the low back, but can also be administered in the cervical (neck) or thoracic (mid back) regions.
How Long do the Effects Last?
Epidurals can provide significant pain relief to those suffering from low back pain. However, the effects are not typically long-lasting. As with many back pain injections, the pain tends to return after several months or a year – at which point the patient has to return for additional injections. For these reasons, epidurals are good for acute back pain, but chronic back pain sufferers may be better suited for minimally invasive surgery.
Should I get an Epidural?
Whether or not an epidural is a good treatment option for you depends entirely on your situation. Always consult with a qualified pain and/or spine physician to see what your options are. It never hurts to get more than one opinion before diving into a particular procedure. Most doctors are happy to provide a second opinion, so don’t be afraid to seek one out.