Are you living with chronic back pain? If so, you aren’t the only one. In fact, nearly 65 million Americans have recently reported experiencing this uncomfortable condition.
If you’ve already tried doctor-prescribed medications or physical therapy, you might feel that you’re out of options. But, there’s still hope! Many sufferers of back pain are seeking a new type of treatment – lumbar epidural injections.
In this article, we’ll walk you through the big benefits of injections for back pain, and help you decide if they are right for you. Keep reading for all the details!
Why Choose Injections for Back Pain?
There are tons of different treatment paths for chronic pain. And you should absolutely consult with a doctor before deciding which one is right for you. This is especially true if your pain started as the result of a back injury.
It’s also essential to keep in mind that lumbar injections work differently than most standard remedies, and in some cases, may be combined with prescription medication, exercise, and other pain management techniques. There’s nothing that says you have to use all traditional or all-natural remedies for pain management.
You’ll want to share a detailed medical history containing your past and current pain treatments with your doctor before trying an epidural for back pain. And, if you haven’t seen a doctor yet, you might need to start with a consultation, followed by imaging and other non-invasive testing.
Before deciding whether lumbar injections are right for you, it’s also essential to consider the following points:
Nerve Pain and Inflammation
When properly placed in the lumbar region, steroid injections decrease inflammation and reduce your nerves’ sensitivity to pain. This results in fewer pain signals being sent between your brain and your back, and less overall discomfort.
That’s why injections for sciatica are particularly successful – and popular!
While it is true that an oral steroid can also relieve these symptoms, they often come along with unpleasant side effects like weight gain, fatigue, and even pain. Plus, using them on a long-term basis can negatively impact your overall health.
Reduced Reliance on Medication
Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you already know that the United States has a problem with prescription pain medication. In fact, the overdose epidemic is currently considered one of the country’s most severe public health emergencies.
Even if you’ve never struggled with addiction, opioid drugs are nothing to fool around with. And, while a traditional back pain doctor in Phoenix might sell you on pills rather than treating the source of your pain, the risks just aren’t worth the short term gains. Addiction can wreak havoc on the body, mind, finances, and more!
Thankfully, lumbar injections can relieve your pain without the chance of addiction. And, while they do use powerful pain medication, you won’t risk accidentally testing positive for opioids at work.
Support Physical Therapy
In most cases, physical therapy is essential to healing from a back injury and returning to normal daily activities. That’s because the exercise helps rebuild muscle and give your back the strength needed to support itself.
But, it’s hard to engage in regular exercise when you’re dealing with daily back pain!
Lumbar injections can provide sufficient relief to allow you to move forward with rehabilitative physical therapy. This, in turn, will help you heal faster and feel better. It will also reduce the chances of a secondary injury.
Spinal surgery is just about every back pain sufferer’s worst nightmare. It’s expensive, painful, and takes ages to recover from. And the results aren’t guaranteed!
Major back surgery can also be a game-changer when it comes to your job, hobbies, and social experiences. How serious the aftermath is, depends on the type and severity of your surgery.
Thankfully, the pain relief some patients experience after using lumbar epidural steroid injections can help to postpone surgery. While, in some cases, this just puts off the inevitable for a few extra months or years, that’s not always the case.
If following your injections, a physical therapy treatment plan is effective; it could eventually eliminate the need for surgery altogether!
Multiple Treatment Options
Depending on the type of pain you are living with, and whether your back problems began as an injury, there are different options available for lumbar injections.
Three different routes – the transforaminal, interlaminar, and caudal are available. And, where your doctor performs the injection will depend on which nerves are being targeted. In some cases, fluoroscopy or x-ray is used to guide the placement.
No matter which treatment is right for you, this type of injection is highly successful. The majority of patients experience fast pain relief that lasts for weeks, months, or even an entire year!
Today, lumbar epidural injections are being used to treat lumbar herniated discs, lumbar degenerative disc disease, and lumbar spinal stenosis. It may also help with some cases of axial back pain, neurogenic claudication, lower back pain, and sciatica.
While spinal injections might sound scary at first, the procedure is surprisingly non-invasive!
A local anaesthetic is typically used, so you’ll barely feel a pinch as the injection is administered. Extremely nervous patients may also have the option to use a light sedative to help keep calm throughout the procedure – though it is uncommon. And, the typical treatment takes less than 30 minutes in a doctor’s office.
Your doctor will likely ask you to wait in their office after your treatment is complete. This gives their medical team time to observe your reaction. And, you should refrain from heavy lifting, sports, and other vigorous physical activity for several days following your procedure.
Natural Pain Management Near You
Now that you’ve learned a bit about how injections for back pain work, you’re probably excited to get the process started. That’s great! Reading this blog post could potentially be your first step on the road to recovery.
Do you have more questions about our services? Call (480) 900 7373 or contact us for assistance with insurance, to view our patient resources, or to schedule your appointment. Our patient and professional staff is standing by and happy to help!
We proudly serve the greater Phoenix area via three convenient clinics.