We all want pain-free days, which can be rare for some neck and back pain sufferers, who may even have radiating pain into the arms and legs. If this describes you, and other treatments aren’t providing the relief you need, you may be a candidate for epidural steroid injections. The procedure involves injecting medications into the epidural space, where they can reduce inflammation and pain.
Dr. Phillip Lim here at the NuVation Pain Group is an expert in interventional pain medicine and pain management and can determine if epidural steroid injections are the right course of action for you.
When to consider an epidural steroid injection
Most of the time Dr. Lim starts with more conservative, less invasive treatments with the goal of decreasing or eliminating your pain and increasing function in the affected areas. He may recommend physical therapy to provide stretching and strengthening exercises or oral pain medication.
Epidural steroid injections typically contain a local anesthetic and a steroid. You get quick pain relief from the anesthetic. The steroids can reduce inflammation, which opens up the nerve passages, takes pressure off the nerves, and provides pain relief. If you’re experiencing any of the following conditions, you may benefit from an epidural steroid injection:
- Inflamed spinal nerves
- Spinal stenosis
- Herniated disc
- Slipped disc or vertebrae
The injection is given under a type of X-ray guidance called fluoroscopy to direct the medications to the precise locations you need it. The anesthetic provides immediate, but temporary, pain relief. The steroids will normally start working within 1-3 days, but could take as long as a week to kick in.
Usually you can return to your daily routine the next day. You’ll keep in touch with Dr. Lim so he can monitor your progress.
Limiting epidural steroid injections
There are, of course, pros and cons to this treatment. Dr. Lim discuss them with you, along with the known, potential side effects, so that everything is clear.
While the results can be very helpful and make a huge difference in the level of your pain, you can have only a limited number of epidural steroid injections in a year. That’s because the injections, while helpful for your pain, can cause some unwanted symptoms.
Potential side effects from epidural steroid injections include:
Weakened spinal bones and muscles
- Thinning of skin or a loss of skin color
- Facial flushing
- Sleep issues and disruption
- Disruption in the body’s natural hormone balance
Your best bet is to come in and see Dr. Lim and discuss the risks versus benefits, as well as the other cutting-edge options we have for treating your pain. Call one of our offices in Buena Park or Los Angeles, or you can make an appointment online with the convenient booking tool. Don’t live with pain. Let us help you get relief.