Everything You Need to Know About Epidural Injections
If you’re seeking out information about epidural steroid injections, it probably means you’re in pain. It may not seem like it at this very moment, but you’re in luck. If you were suffering in pain before 1952, you wouldn’t have access to this effective, pain-relieving tool.
First, let’s talk about pain.
There’s a good chance your pain is caused by inflammation. The two go hand-in-hand, and the former is the main cause of ailments like arthritis, and many other conditions that cause tremendous pain.
Inflammation is actually your body doing its job. When you have an injury, or your body is otherwise under attack, your immune system pumps into overdrive. A chemical response takes place; white blood cells and antibodies come running – and often, swelling occurs due to the massive generation and congregation of fluid.
Sure, it’s nice to hear that the pain you’re experiencing is due to your body’s inclination to heal, but when you’re in the thick of it, and just want some relief, you may find it in epidural steroid injections.
What conditions can epidural steroid injections help?
Epidural steroid injections are used to treat a variety of painful conditions that stem from nerve damage. Ailments like sciatica, spinal stenosis, and herniated disks can present as pain in the back, and also pain throughout the body, especially the limbs. A herniated disk may pinch a nerve, leading to deep pain from the root to the tip of that nerve. An epidural steroid injection can help relieve the pain associated with nerve impingement by reducing inflammation, in turn reducing swelling of the area – so the pain response lessens.
What is in the shot?
The first time you do anything, it’s scary. You don’t know what to expect, and as humans, one of our evolutionary gifts from our ancestors is anxiety. It might make you more comfortable to hear what’s in your epidural injection before you get one. Inside is a mix of corticosteroid, the magic ingredient, and a local anesthetic to relieve pain. The corticosteroid is the main source of pain relief, as it is the anti-inflammatory agent.
What happens when you receive an epidural steroid injection?
As you make your way into the clinic for your epidural steroid injection, you can rest easy knowing you won’t be inside for long. The treatment itself is less than 30 minutes, and it’s relatively painless to what you’re experiencing. In fact, you’ll probably just feel a bit of pressure.
When you arrive, you’ll step into a lovely hospital gown, and lie face down upon the x-ray table. Your exact position will depend upon the condition you’re receiving treatment for. After the injection site is cleaned, you’ll receive a local anesthetic to reduce the discomfort felt from the shot. Your doctor will then use a needle to control the release of the healing mixture. First, a contrast dye will be released for assurance of proper placement. Then, the epidural steroid mix is injected in the space around the painful nerve root, and begin fighting the inflammation.
If you’ve been diagnosed with a nerve condition, ask your doctor if an epidural steroid injection can ease your symptoms.
Epidural Steroid Injections for Lumbar Spinal Stenosis. (2014, September 9). Retrieved from http://www.webmd.com/back-pain/epidural-steroid-injections-for-lumbar-spinal-stenosis.
Jason C. Eck, DO, MS. (2015, November 30). Epidural Steroid Injection. eMedicineHealth. Retrieved from http://www.emedicinehealth.com/epidural_steroid_injection/article_em.htm.
Richard A. Staehler, MD. (2017, July 17). Epidural Injection Procedure. Spine-health. Retrieved from https://www.spine-health.com/treatment/injections/epidural-injection-procedure.