What are Epidural Steroid Injections?
An epidural steroid injection, or ESI, takes place when medicine is injected into the space around the spinal cord and nerve roots, also known as the epidural space. With epidural steroid injections, the medicine normally consists of a combination of a corticosteroid and an anesthetic. Corticosteroids are used for their anti-inflammatory properties. By reducing swelling and inflammation, pressure is taken off the nerves. This, in turn, helps to reduce the pain. Immediate pain relief is provided by the local anesthetic medicine that is also a part of the epidural steroid injections.
Epidural steroid injections are frequently used to relieve back pain when other types of therapy have failed to bring effective relief. They can be used as a means to explore non-surgical options before resorting to surgery. Epidural steroid injections are used most often in conjunction with other treatments because the pain relief provided by the injections can help the patient tolerate the other therapy, making it more successful.
Epidural steroid injections are used most often to treat back pain that is caused by one of two problems: spinal stenosis and radiculopathy. Spinal stenosis is caused by a narrowing of the lower spine, which puts pressure on the nerves inside. At times, the pain may radiate into the buttock and down the legs with little or no actual back pain. Pain caused by spinal stenosis may decrease when the person leans forward. It can also become worse with increased activity.
Radiculopathy results from inflammation or damage to the nerves, usually in the low back or the neck. The location of the problem is where the nerve exits the spine. Herniated discs are common causes for radiculopathy because of the pressure placed on the nerve by the bulging of the disc. This usually causes sharp pain to originate in the back and shoot down one or both legs.
Before administering epidural steroid injections, our doctor will usually order a CT scan or an MRI. This helps them determine the location and nature of the problem. Epidural steroid injections can be administered in our office. The anesthetic that is part of the ESI will prevent the procedure from being too uncomfortable.
Individuals who are experiencing pain and have been treated for it, but have still not found relief, should discuss the option of epidural steroid injections with our doctor at Longevity Spine in Oklahoma City. Our medical team will be happy to evaluate your condition and help you determine if this treatment can benefit you. Contact us today to schedule your appointment.