When it comes to neck, back, and leg pain, there is one common nonsurgical treatment that could give patients the relief they’re seeking: epidural steroid injections. New Jersey doctors at Coastal Spine believe in exploring nonsurgical options first so patients can get back to being pain-free quickly. Epidural steroid injections (ESI) are a great way to temporarily alleviate pain, so patients can return to their daily activities. They work by delivering steroids directly to the painful nerve area to help decrease the inflammation that may be causing the pain. There are a number of back conditions and symptoms that could benefit from an epidural steroid injection, including:
- Sciatica: a form of spinal compression that causes pain and numbness along the sciatic nerve, running from the buttocks to the legs. An ESI would deliver steroids directly to the area around your sciatic nerve roots to reduce any inflammation. Sciatica could be a symptom of the lumbar back conditions listed below.
- Spinal stenosis: the narrowing of the canal in your spinal column, usually affects people 50 years and older. Unfortunately, there is no turning back time on this particular condition. An ESI could provide enough relief for patients to work through an exercise rehabilitation program to ease the strain on the spine and prevent future pain.
- Spondylolysis: a stress fracture or weakness in the vertebrae typically found in athletes, adults, and seniors. This stress fracture makes the bone weaker and less able to hold firm to its proper position, often leading to slippage. If left untreated, spondylolisthesis can develop putting surrounding nerves at risk. An ESI is a small step in the road to recovery with this condition.
- Degenerative disc disease: as we age, our spinal discs can dry out, affecting the structure and flexibility of the vertebrae. Although this is a normal part of aging, the condition can become painful when the degenerated discs pinch a spinal nerve or the spinal cord. Many times an ESI will be administered in conjunction with physical therapy to break the pain cycle.
- Herniated disc: caused by trauma that tears or cracks the outer layer of the intervertebral disc, a herniated disc is a vertebrae that bulges or ruptures. The bulging can place pressure on nerve roots in the spine, which can cause inflammation and pain. The anti-inflammatory nature of the steroid injection decreases the swelling around the nerves and discs, leaving many patients pain-free.
Epidural steroid injections are generally used to temporarily treat pain and discomfort. However, in many cases ESIs paired with an exercise or physical therapy regimen will do the trick to reduce pain long-term. If you’re experiencing chronic back pain, it’s best to check in with a New Jersey spine doctor to receive an official diagnosis. Learn what to expect from an epidural steroid injection here.