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Should You Give Epidural Injections a Shot for Your Back Pain?

More than 30 million Americans experience back pain at any given time. Whether it’s chronic or acute, back pain can cause misery and social isolation. If you have trouble running errands or playing with your kids because of back pain, consider epidural injections. 

At his practice in Wilmington, Delaware, and the Philadelphia area, Dr. Steven Grossinger is a compassionate pain management expert who identifies and eliminates the source of your back pain to give you relief.

Using a comprehensive, multidisciplinary strategy, Dr. Grossinger looks at your back pain from every angle, offering treatments that range from traditional to state-of-the-art.

One of his many back pain treatment options is an epidural injection. Could it help you?

Common reasons for back pain

The term back pain covers a long list of medical conditions that may involve muscles, nerves, ligaments, bones, or discs. The most common reasons for back pain include:

These conditions can result from an accident, illness, disease, or injury. You may experience back pain due to the natural aging process. If your back pain doesn’t subside within a few months, or if you experience pain for longer than six months, it’s considered a chronic condition.

Treating back pain

Certain conditions that cause back pain require surgery. Most people, however, can find relief from back pain using some combination of over-the-counter pain medication, acupuncture, ultrasound therapy, chiropractic adjustments, hot and cold therapies, and physical therapy.

But if your pain is too severe to benefit from any of these therapies, epidural injections can be an excellent treatment option.

Epidural injection basics

Still one of the most effective ways to combat pain, epidural injections have been around since the 1950s. The treatment involves injecting an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid directly into the epidural space, the area that surrounds the nerves running through your spinal cord.

The injection contains cortisol, a steroid that reduces inflammation, the main reason for your pain. 

When you take oral medication to ease pain or reduce swelling, it has to travel through your digestive system, and that takes time. Plus, the drug isn’t targeted to your pain. Instead of going directly to your back, it’s dispersed throughout your body.

An epidural injection, on the other hand, delivers precise and targeted results. It also contains a local anesthetic such as lidocaine to provide immediate relief by flushing out the immunologic agents that cause your inflammation.

The procedure

An epidural injection may sound scary, but the procedure isn’t painful. We have you lie comfortably on your stomach, sterilize the injection site, and numb your skin with a local anesthetic.

After that, we use fluoroscopy to find the exact spot where your pain originates. A fluoroscopy is a live X-ray that helps guide the needle to the right place. You feel some pressure but no pain as the solution enters the epidural space.

After the injection, our caring team monitors you for about 20 minutes to make sure you’re feeling okay. Then, you can go home. You might feel a little discomfort at the injection site for a few days, but using an ice pack provides relief.

Advantages of epidural injections

Epidural injections reduce or eliminate your back pain long enough for you to fully participate in treatments to resolve the underlying condition. The injection provides pain relief for up to a year.

Many people find that once the steroid effects have worn off, the pain is gone because they’ve healed and no longer need additional injections. Patients vary, however, and some may need more than one injection. But you can’t have more than a few injections in one year.

If you’re suffering from back pain caused by sciatica, herniated discs, or spinal stenosis, the pain relief you get from an epidural injection may be all you need to allow healing to happen.

Are you a good candidate for the pain-relieving effects of an epidural injection? Call us at one of our three locations in Woodlyn and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, and Wilmington, Delaware, or request an appointment online.

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