Epidural injection and Best Pain management physician in Mansfield TX
An epidural injection also known as epidural steroid injection, is an injection which contains steroids, anesthetics and anti-inflammatory medications that is injected into the epidural space around the spinal cord to relieve pain or inflammation.
It is an injection given to patients during and after surgery to relieve pain. It is also used to relieve chronic pain.
Epidural injection also relieves pain and reduces inflammation in and around the spinal nerve roots.
However, epidural injection does not provide permanent relief for pains. It is used to provide temporary and prolonged relief of pains. An epidural radiofrequency ablation is used to provide more permanent relief for pains.
Uses of epidural injection
An epidural injection is used to relieve pain caused by:
- Spinal stenosis (narrowing of the spinal canal and nerve root canal)
- Spondylolisthesis (weakness or fracture between the upper and lower facet)
- Chronic back or leg pain after undergoing spinal surgery.
- A herniated disk leading to chronic pain
- Bone spurs
- Injuries at the spinal nerves, vertebrae and surrounding tissues leading to chronic pain.
Preparing for epidural injection treatment
Before undergoing an epidural injection treatment, your doctor will first make sure that you are an ideal candidate for the treatment.
If you are an ideal candidate for the treatment, your doctor will review your medical history and previous imaging scans.
You may need to stop taking blood-thinning medications several days before the treatment. If you are on any other medications, you need to let your doctor know about it. If you have any allergies, inform your doctor.
On the day of the treatment, come to the clinic with a family member or someone that will drive you back home after the treatment. This is because of the aftereffect of the steroids and anesthesia that will be used for the treatment.
How epidural injection treatment is done
There are different types of epidural injection which include the cervical epidural injection, Lumbar, and Caudal epidural injection.
The cervical epidural is at the upper neck region, the lumbar is at the lower back while the caudal is at the tailbone or buttock.
The area where the medication will be injected depends on the area where you feel pain.
On the commencement of the treatment, you will be asked to lie down on an x-ray table. You will be given local anesthetic at the pain area to numb the area so that you don’t feel any discomfort or to reduce the discomfort to the barest minimum.
You are not given general anesthetic so that you can be awake all through the treatment to provide feedback on how you feel.
Your doctor will then direct a hollow needle through your skin and between the vertebrae into the epidural space with the aid of an x-ray fluoroscope.
The fluoroscope is connected to a monitor with which the doctor views the direction of the needle in real-time. This is to help your doctor direct the needle to the right position.
When the needle is in the right position, a contrast dye is then injected so that your doctor will clearly see the target nerves responsible for the pain. Your doctor will then inject the medication that contains corticosteroids and anesthetic to numb the nerves.
The anesthetic helps to relieve pain while the corticosteroid is an anti-inflammatory drug to reduce swelling.
You may feel a tingling or pressure when the injection is administered into the nerves.
The treatment takes about 15-45 minutes to be completed.
After the Epidural injection treatment
After the treatment, you will be taken to a recovery room where you will be monitored for a short time. You may feel a temporary weakness or numbness in your legs.
You can go back home the same day but someone needs to drive you home due to the effect of the medication.
You may be given a pain diary to record your improvements and pain relief processes for a couple of weeks.
You may start to feel increased pain when the anesthesia begins to wear off before the corticosteroid starts to take effect. It usually takes a few hours before the corticosteroid starts to take effect.
You need to go for periodic check-ups and follow-up appointments so that your doctor can monitor your improvement process.
The duration of pain relief may last for weeks or years depending on the patient and some other factors. Some patients may need to undergo more treatments to experience long-lasting pain relief.
Are there any risks or complications with Epidural injection?
An epidural injection is generally a safe procedure. However, just like every other medical procedure, there are some complications or issues that may arise.
Potential risks or complications include:
- Allergic reaction
- Spinal headache
- Water retention
- Weight gain
- Elevated sugar level
- Mood swings
- Rare cases of nerve damage or paralysis.