When you’re in pain, you want it to go away as soon as possible. Whether it’s by changing your sleeping position, avoiding certain activities, or taking medications, alleviating the discomfort is necessary to comfortably carry out the activities of daily living.
The problem is augmented if the pain is so strong that it prevents you from performing your regular work duties. Now, in addition to dealing with physical discomfort, you have to worry about how this will affect your job.
This is where epidural steroid injections come in. If you’re in pain, you’ve likely heard about them, whether from internet searches, well-intentioned friends, or from a medical provider. What are they and how can they help you?
What Are Epidural Injections?
Steroid injections are cortisone shots. Cortisone is an anti-inflammatory agent. Once inflammation is reduced or eliminated, pain subsides. It is designed to imitate a natural hormone in your body called cortisol.
Cortisol is also known as the “stress hormone”, it helps reduce inflammation when the body experiences stress. This is precisely the effect epidural injections seek to emulate.
What is the Purpose of an Epidural Steroid Injection?
Epidural steroid injections are administered to alleviate nerve pain caused by spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing of the spaces around the spine. This condition results in compression of the spinal cord, causing pain, weakness, or numbness in the neck, back, arms, or legs.
In preparation for and during the injection, the medical provider will use an imaging technique called a fluoroscopy to find the exact location to infuse the steroid.
Types of Steroid Injections
There are three types of steroid injections:
- Cervical. To alleviate neck and arm pain.
- Thoracic. To alleviate mid to upper back pain.
- Lumbar. To alleviate lower back or leg pain.
They are a good option for people suffering from any of the following conditions:
- Herniated Discs
- Vertebral Misalignment
- Bone Spurs
Are There Any Risks to Epidural Steroid Injections?
It’s very rare to have side effects from epidural steroid injections. However, when they do occur they can include headaches, sleeplessness, high blood sugar, facial flushing, or stomach ulcers. They could also cause weakening of vertebrae.
To reduce the likelihood of such effects, doctors typically limit the number of injections a patient can receive over a year. It’s also important to space the time between injections to allow the body enough time to return to its hormonal balance.
If You’re Experiencing Chronic Pain, Let Us Help You.
At Spine Works Institute, we take pride in helping patients through safe and natural therapies. We have an entire team of chiropractors, massage therapists, and healthcare professionals who are ready to assist you.
Call us at (817) 616-0700 to schedule an appointment, or learn more about our practice here.