Epidurals for Pain Management
Have you been suffering from chronic neck, back, arm, or leg pains? If you’ve tried every trick in the book to relieve your aches, it is time for you to learn about how epidurals are used for effective and long-lasting pain management. Although commonly associated with temporary relief from discomfort during pregnancy and labor, epidurals are also used long-term to block painful inflammation and discomfort in your spinal region.
Epidural nerve blocks and injections administer medications (e.g. steroids and anesthesia) in your spinal column which affects the nerve roots. The procedure targets the nerves associated with the pain, providing you with relief that can last from weeks to years.
What Are Epidurals?
Epidurals are pain management procedures that can inject numbing and anti-inflammatory medications in your spinal region. There are two types:
- Epidural Injections. Steroids and other medications are injected into the epidural space (the membrane surrounding the spinal cord).
- Epidural Nerve Block. This procedure delivers corticosteroid medication in a specific nerve root (the exit point of the nerve into the spinal column).
In both procedures, your doctor will inject the steroid and analgesics, targeting the nerve that’s causing you discomfort. As a minimally-invasive treatment, the epidural injection or epidural block only takes about an hour to perform. During an epidural injection, your doctor will apply a local or topical anesthetic to numb the site of injection. Then, with the guidance of an x-ray machine, your pain specialist will insert the needle either through the epidural space or the nerve root. For most, full recovery can be expected after a day.
Common Uses For Epidurals
You’ve probably encountered the term epidurals among pregnant women. In this case, it’s used as an anesthetic procedure in preparation for surgeries in the lower body. However, epidural injections are also commonly used to manage pain, particularly those associated with the spine and nerve root. These are chronic pains that are felt in your neck, back and extremities.
Where Is Your Pain?
Epidural injections are best performed to relieve the following conditions:
- Sciatica (pain or numbness in the sciatic nerve that runs from the buttocks down to the
- Herniated or bulging disk
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal)
- Pinched nerve
- Pain radiating from the spine
Epidural nerve blocking is recommended to alleviate pain associated with:
- Herniated disc
- Hip arthritis
- Peripheral Neuropathy (Specific types of numbness and tingling)
- Knee arthritis
- Tendinitis & Bursitis
Our doctors will do a thorough assessment to know which type of treatment will work best for you.
How Epidural Injection Provide Effective Pain Relief
An epidural is one of the most effective ways to provide relief for those with neck and back pains or pains associated with sciatica. It is the best minimally-invasive and alternative treatment before surgery is considered. These injections work exceptionally well since the medication is targeted directly at the root of the problem. Unlike oral medications for relief, the effects of these medications are concentrated on a specific area.
Thus, it has fewer side effects than oral analgesics which may cause nausea, vomiting, or sleepiness. Since many pains in the neck and back are associated with chemical inflammations, epidurals can also help minimize the swelling by flushing away the inflammatory proteins which aggravate the pain. Many patients that have had an epidural performed enjoy long term pain relief. Although it differs for every person, you can expect the effects to last from a few weeks to years. For best results, an epidural injection is recommended along with physical therapy and exercise programs to prolong relief and encourage healing.
Manage Your Chronic Neck and Back Pains With Epidurals Today
It’s time for you to start living a life free from aches! Our specialists are highly-trained and skilled to assess the safest and most effective individualized treatment plan for you. Schedule an appointment or call us to inquire about epidurals and other effective pain management procedures.