All You Need to Know About Epidural Steroid Injections
Your spinal sac is surrounded by a sleeve-like space filled with fat called the epidural space. The role of this space is to provide protective cushioning for your spinal cord and nerves. If you experience acute or chronic back pain, your Healthcare Pain Centers LLC doctor may also inject steroids directly into your epidural space. This injection is called an epidural steroid injection (ESI) and offers temporary but effective relief to pain caused by herniated discs, bone spurs, abnormal vertebrae alignment, or cysts. Here is a look at ESIs, what they are, what they treat, and their benefits.
What Is an ESI?
An epidural steroid injection is a minimally-invasive treatment that delivers anti-inflammatory medication directly into your epidural space to alleviate pain and inflammation. It is used to treat pain that originates in the spine and extends to the legs, hips, arms, or lower back. Despite the name, ESIs are not the same as epidural anesthesia, which is administered to women in labor.
Who Needs an Epidural Steroid Injection?
As mentioned, epidural steroid injections are often used to treat pain originating in the spinal column. They address inflammation in the spinal nerves caused by narrowing in the nerve passages. This narrowing can be caused or exacerbated by conditions like:
- Bone spurs
- Joint cysts
- Herniated discs
- Thickened ligaments in the spinal column caused by arthritis
- Slipped vertebrae
When injected into the epidural space, ESIs open up these narrowed passages to provide relief.
Benefits of Epidural Steroid Injections
The best way to enjoy the results of epidural injections is to get them from a medical professional. In this setting, ESIs can provide the following benefits:
Epidural injections do not address the underlying cause of your pain. However, they do relieve the pain and discomfort it causes for up to a few months. This relief can allow your body to function better and reap the benefits of other treatments like physical therapy and pain medication.
2.Instant Pain Relief
After you receive an epidural injection, you will experience immediate relief from leg, arm, neck, or back pain. The results are instant and effective, extending to all parts of your body that may be affected by the inflammation in your spinal cord.
3. Spine Surgery Alternative
ESI treatments can be a good alternative to spinal surgery. Because they are minimally invasive, they require less downtime, allowing you to heal faster and more fully. ESIs are also more affordable and less risky than spine surgery.
Possible Risks of ESIs
Like most medical procedures, ESIs carry the potential for side effects like water retention, menstrual changes, anxiety, and sleeping problems. Some patients also experience “steroid flush,” which is characterized by warmth, fever, and flushing in the chest and face. However, side effects are rare, and when they do happen, they can usually be resolved by a visit to the doctor.
Considered one of the most effective lower back pain treatments, ESIs can provide short-term relief for intense pain. You can learn more about their benefits by consulting a pain management specialist about your symptoms. Contact Healthcare Pain Centers LLC to book an appointment today.