What Can And Can’t Spinal Injections Help Treat?

Category: Injections | Author: Stefano Sinicropi | Date: August 20, 2020

High Intensity Zone Spine

Corticosteroid spinal injections can be a patient’s best friend, but they aren’t a perfect solution for all types of back pain. A spine specialist will need to conduct a comprehensive diagnosis and consider other relevant factors like patient demographics and family history before deciding if spinal injections may be worth pursuing. In today’s blog, we explain when spinal injections may be ordered and what they can and can’t help treat.

Are Spinal Injections Right For Me?

Let’s take a look at some of the factors and conditions that might suggest spinal injections may or may not be recommended for your back issue.

  • Type of Pain – If you’re having general spinal pain or back pain caused by a muscle issue, you’re probably not going to be given a spinal injection. Spinal injections are more commonly used to calm irritated or damaged nerves, so if your back pain stems from a nerve issue, then an injection may be a possibility.
  • Short Vs. Long Term – As we’ve said on the blog in the past, spinal injections are not a good long term solution for spine pain. Your body begins to get used to the medication, leading to less effective injections, and it doesn’t treat the underlying cause of pain. It’s not a great long-term option, but if you are looking for short-term relief ahead of surgery or to help make your post-op physical therapy easier, an injection may be better suited to your needs.
  • Surgical Prospects – Back pain is one of the most common complaints among senior citizens, and while we want to help them anyway we can, they simply may not be an ideal candidate for surgery. However, their body may be able to handle an injection, so for patients who can’t have their issue treated with surgery for one reason or another, an injection can help them control their discomfort. Younger patients can get injections too, but a surgery may take care of the problem, so there may not be a need for both treatments if one will do the trick.
  • Surgical Delays – An injection can help you delay surgery by calming troublesome inflammation, but again, it won’t prevent the need for surgery. More recently, we’ve seen injections given to help patients get some relief while they wait to have their spine surgery rescheduled because of COVID-19. An injection can help make the time leading up to surgery more bearable.
  • Struggling With Active Treatments – Finally, if active treatment options could help resolve your spinal issue, but you’re having trouble participating in those activities due to discomfort, a spinal injection may be the perfect solution. For example, exercise and physical therapy are two of the most basic treatment options recommended for some of the most common back problems, like disc issues, nerve problems and joint injuries. If pain makes movements too difficult, a spinal injection can provide temporary relief so you can participate in these active modalities, further driving home your recovery.

So while a spinal injection can be perfect for the right patient, they aren’t a one-size-fits-all solution. For more information, or to talk to a specialist to see if an injection might be right for you, reach out to Dr. Sinicropi’s office today.

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