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How an Epidural Can Alleviate Your Back Pain

How an Epidural Can Alleviate Your Back Pain

Most Americans will experience back pain at some point of their lives, but problems arise when back pain doesn’t resolve on its own. Chronic back pain can interfere with your life, making everyday tasks painful and causing you to scale back your previously active lifestyle. 

If nonsurgical treatments like physical therapy and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medications have failed to bring relief, an epidural steroid injection may alleviate your pain and enable you to return to your normal activities. 

The compassionate pain management team of physicians and certified nurse practitioners here at Lynx Healthcare is devoted to finding the right combination of treatments to relieve your pain. Specializing in interventional pain medicine, our team uses state-of-the-art technology to diagnose your pain and find solutions. Keep reading to learn more about how an epidural steroid injection can bring the relief you need. 

Understanding chronic back pain

Inflammation is the immune system's first healing response. The goal is to eliminate as much bacteria as possible from the area surrounding the injured site before calling in backups.

Your body isn't meant to stay in an inflammatory state for an extended amount of time, and if the inflammation lasts for a long time, it produces pain. This is how chronic pain happens.

How do epidural steroid injections relieve pain?

The primary purpose of epidural steroid injections is to relieve chronic pain produced by irritation and inflammation of the spinal nerve roots in your low back (lumbar portion of your spine) as a result of disease or injury. 

When the adrenal gland releases cortisone it suppresses the immune system in a specific location, lowering inflammation and thereby reducing pain.

When you get an epidural steroid injection, the powerful anti-inflammatory effect relieves pain. To perform the injection, we inject cortisone into the epidural space — the outermost region of the spinal column. 

Roughly 70-90 percent of patients experience pain relief from these injections, which can last anywhere from a week to a year. If you have a positive improvement in pain after the first injection, a second injection may be considered after the benefits begin to fade from the initial injection. In most cases, up to three injections are given over the course of a year. 

Epidural steroid injection benefits

First, we complete a thorough evaluation and discuss whether an epidural injection is an appropriate option for you. Pain relief from epidural shots tends to last roughly three months on average. However, that may be enough time for your back to heal and your pain to subside.

Epidural steroid injections have the following advantages:

Reduces inflammation and nerve pain

Steroids lower inflammation and the sensitivity of nerve fibers to pain, resulting in the generation of fewer pain signals.

Limits oral medications

The pain relief provided by these injections may reduce or eliminate your need for oral medications.

Improves function

Epidural injections may provide enough pain relief for you to continue with rehabilitative physical therapy.

May delay need for surgery

Pain alleviation by epidural steroid injections may delay surgery, and if physical therapy is successful, it may help you avoid the need for surgery altogether.

There are several ways to administer an epidural injection, depending on your underlying condition. 

Don’t put off getting help with your back pain — our pain management experts work together with you so you feel and function better. If you’re dealing with chronic pain, give us a call to schedule a visit to discuss treatment options or book your request online today.

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