A person suffering with chronic back pain after an accident may obtain relief by getting an epidural steroid injection. These injections are used to deliver the anti-inflammatory and pain medication directly to the site of the pain and are used instead of oral steroids and pain medicines.
Epidural steroid injections are used to reduce inflammation caused by many conditions, including a herniated disk, spinal stenosis (a narrowing of the spaces in the spine that can lead to pressure and pain on the nerves or spinal cord), and degenerative disk disease. For many back pain sufferers, these injections can significantly reduce their pain.
What to Expect During an Epidural Steroid Injection Procedure
An epidural steroid injection is an outpatient procedure, and it generally takes 15 to 30 minutes. A patient can expect the following:
- The patient may be given medication through an intravenous line (IV) to help him relax.
- The patient lies on his abdomen on an X-ray table, and the area where the shot is to be given is cleaned and then numbed using a local anesthetic.
- The doctor uses a fluoroscopy (live X-ray) to ensure that the needle is directed to the epidural space, which is located above the outer layer surrounding the spinal cord and nerve roots. Once the needle is in place, a dye may be injected to confirm the needle is in the proper place, and then the injection is given.
- The patient needs to rest after the procedure.
An epidural steroid injection is a temporary pain reliever. It is best to combine it with physical therapy, which may help to strengthen the injured area of the back and provide more long-term help with the pain.
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