Ease Back Pain With A Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection

Back pain makes you miserable, no matter the severity. When it becomes chronic, it can affect your overall physical and mental health. It can cause frustration, discouragement and depression because you are always uncomfortable. You may miss opportunities to interact with your children or feel that you cannot participate in activities, because you are fearful it will make the ache worse. Rather than trying to mask the pain with over-the-counter medications, you may benefit from a lumbar epidural steroid injection (ESI).

What Is a Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection?

Ease Back Pain With A Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection

An ESI is a commonly used treatment for backaches, as well as for leg discomfort from issues like sciatica. It is usually effective in treating acute pain, with benefits lasting for one week to as long as a year. One is often used in conjunction with a rehabilitation program. Because the injection reduces the intensity of the problem, a patient can feel more able to do stretching exercises and other physical therapy.

How Does It Work?

An ESI is a combination of corticosteroid, which is a powerful anti-inflammatory, and a local anesthetic. The latter gives the patient immediate pain relief while the former slowly works to reduce swelling and inflammation, which ultimately reduces the pressure that is causing the discomfort. Injections can damage soft tissues, so a lumbar epidural steroid injection is usually not given more than three times a year at the same site.

Imaging scans, such as an MRI, are often done before an injection is given, to determine which nerves are being squeezed to cause the ache. A health care provider may then use an X-ray machine to guide the placement of the needle for the actual dose.

Is there Any Down Time?

Typically, the entire lumbar epidural steroid injection process takes less than an hour. The actual procedure can take about 30 minutes, and then you will be monitored for another 15 or so. A physician may suggest resting for most of that day, but you will likely be able to return to normal activities the next.

Are There Side Effects?

There are possible side effects with any medication, but usually the benefits outweigh potential complications. With an ESI, there is the rare possibility of infection, bleeding and nerve damage. You can talk with your care provider about what to watch for after treatment.

Being liberated from chronic pain can change your entire perspective. You can feel better not only physically, but also emotionally. You can once again do the activities you want to do, without fear of aggravating an issue. A lumbar epidural steroid injection can help relieve aches today so you can start enjoying your tomorrows.

By Dr. James Lin
If you are reading this on any other blog than Comprehensive Pain Management Center or via my RSS Feed, it is stolen content without credit.
You can find me on Twitter via @DrJamesTLin
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