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Neck Pain and Low Back Pain: Should You Consider Epidural Steroid Shots?

Author: ParkwayHealth   View:688 times  Date: 2022-02-07

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Epidural steroid injections (ESIs) have been used as a non-surgical modality to relieve neck, arm, back, and leg pain caused by inflamed and compressed spinal nerves. Both long-term and short-term effects of the ESIs were shown in recent clinical researches.

What is the purpose of an epidural steroid injection?

Corticosteroid injections reduce inflammation and are effective when delivered directly onto the painful nerves. The ESI does not make a herniated disc or bone spur smaller, but it will flush away proteins that cause irritation and swelling and reduce compression and overexcitement of nerves.

What conditions are treated using ESI?

This type of injection is an effective treatment for conditions involving a pinched or compressed spinal nerve. Some of the conditions we commonly treat with ESIs include herniated disc, sciatica, radiculopathy, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, spondylolysis, failed back surgery syndrome, etc.

Who is a candidate for an ESI?

ESIs are commonly used to relieve pain in patients who have not adequately responded to lifestyle change, modification, common pain killers and physical therapies for 6 weeks. When your pain is severe and needs strong pain killers, such as Oxycodone, Tramadol and Codeine, or when your pain lasts longer than 6 weeks, or when you want to avoid spinal surgery, ESIs should be considered. ESIs are helpful for patients with inflammatory and painful conditions. ESIs are often used to determine the origin of back pain too. 

What are the benefits of ESIs?

In past days, ESIs were used to be considered temporal pain management.  However, ESIs can offer both short-term and long-term pain relief. Recent systematic reviews reported that 80% of patients got more than 50% of pain relief and higher pain relief quality at 6 months and 12 months after the treatment, with an ESI. The ESIs may allow you to reduce or stop oral medicine which may cause side effects. You may have higher intense exercise therapy in better pain condition. Chronic pain leads to sleep disturbance, fatigue, depression and anxiety.  Good pain control is essential for both physical and mental health too.

What happens during the ESI procedure?

The procedure is minimally invasive, done as an outpatient procedure, and involves little recovery time. Parkway People’s Square Hospital performs epidural steroid injection as an outpatient treatment using only local anesthesia at the site of injection. A low dose sedative is also available. In most cases, the procedure is less painful than you think. The doctor cleans your back region using an antiseptic solution, then numbs the skin using a tiny needle and anesthetic. The procedure needle is inserted into the epidural space using a special type of x-ray called fluoroscopy and ultrasound. They allow the doctor to watch the needle on a monitor to ensure Its correct placement and the delivery of the medication onto the inflamed nerve root.

What is the serious side effect of epidural steroid injections?

Serious nerve injury and infection are extremely rare, but they must be explained beforehand by the doctor performing the procedure. To reduce the risk of complications, ESIs are performed under Image guidance of fluoroscopy and ultrasound in a clean room.

Who performs epidural steroid injections?

Only a licensed medical professional can administer steroid injections. These treatments can be done at an outpatient facility, but consultation and testing must be done beforehand. The procedure needs precise needle control.  Only a limited number of trained medical specialists can perform ESIs. ParkwayHealth Pain Management Specialist, Masatoshi Patrick Tomonari, MD, is clinically trained and has extensive experience in making adequate assessment and can relieve your long-term or chronic pain in a patient-centric approach.


For more information or to make an appointment with a Pain Management Specialist, contact us at 400-819-6622.

Article contributed by Dr. Masatoshi Patrick Tomonari, Pain Management Specialist at ParkwayHealth.




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