The Pros and Cons of Spinal InjectionsMonday, January 30th, 2023, 12:47 pm
Did you know that approximately 540 million people worldwide have back pain at least once, and 5% develop chronic back pain?
Many people turn to spinal injections to alleviate chronic back pain and return to the activities they love. If you're considering spinal injections for your back pain, you might be wondering if they're the right solution for you.
The best thing to do is learn more about spinal injections and evaluate the pros and cons to make the best decision for your situation.
This guide will teach you everything you need to know about spinal injections, including the pros and cons.
Overview of Spinal Injections
Spinal injections are injections that consist of anti-inflammatory medications. These injections either contain a steroid on their own or a combination of a steroid and a local anesthetic.
These injections aim to reduce inflammation and irritation of the spinal nerve roots in the lower back, reducing chronic pain.
How Do Spinal Injections Work?
The lower back or lumbar spine region consists of five vertebrae. These vertebrae are larger than the other vertebrae that make up your spine. Your lumbar spine extends from your chest to the bottom of your spine or sacrum.
The epidural space is located between your vertebral canal and spinal cord.
Your doctor will inject the medication into the epidural space around the nerves in the lower back. Injections are administered via x-ray, known as fluoroscopy, which serves as a guide.
Once your healthcare provider injects the medication into the epidural space that surrounds the spinal cord, it will immediately act on the nerves causing pain.
What Conditions Can Spinal Injections Treat?
Doctors typically recommend spinal injections as part of a chronic pain management treatment plan for back conditions.
Many people have chronic pain, known as lumbar radicular pain. This type of pain is due to spinal nerve root inflammation in the lower back. Radicular pain involves pain that radiates from your lower back down the back of your leg. It's also referred to as sciatica.
People with radicular pain also experience numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness.
Spinal injections also treat other conditions, such as:
- Herniated discs
- Degenerative disk disease
- Spinal stenosis or narrowing of the lumbar spine spaces
Types of Injections
There are different types of spinal injections, depending on the kind of pain you have. The common injection types include:
Caudal steroid injections are for people who have lower back and leg pain. With these injections, a small needle is inserted into the epidural space in your tailbone area. Having caudal injections helps people to take part in treatments like physical therapy.
Epidural steroid injections are effective for leg pain like sciatica and low back pain. They can also be effective for thoracic (mid-spine) and neck pain. Epidural steroid injections target the thoracic or lumbar spine area.
The facet joints are located in the back of your spine. You have facet joints on each vertebra, allowing you to bend and turn normally.
They also connect vertebrae. Facet injections can help relieve pain and inflammation in these joints, usually resulting from arthritis or sciatica.
Typically facet injections go into the joint capsule or surrounding tissues. Facet injections can also serve as a diagnostic tool for a doctor to confirm these joints are the source of your pain.
Transforaminal injections can help relieve pain in the lower back, legs, and feet due to herniated discs or sciatica.
Transforaminal injections target the nerve in your lower back that's causing the pain. They reduce pain and relieve symptoms like numbness and inflammation.
Pros of Spinal Injections
There are many reasons to consider getting spinal injections to help with back pain relief. The pros of spinal injections go beyond pain relief, giving you more reason to look into spinal injections as a treatment option.
Taking pain pills isn't ideal long-term for many people. Also, depending on your job, you may need to sit at the computer most of the day.
Spinal injections can decrease the pain you feel temporarily. Most people get pain relief from 1 to 3 months, but in some cases, you can experience reduced pain levels for 12 months or more.
In addition, this temporary pain relief allows you to participate in physical therapy or rehab. Ultimately, this increased activity will reduce your pain more in the long run.
Better Range of Motion
Feeling less pain also means you have a better range of motion overall. Keep in mind when you're in pain, you tend to move less. This lack of movement causes more muscle tension and stiffness over time.
Getting injections regularly will help you to feel more relaxed and reduce tension. As a result, you'll be able to pursue a more active lifestyle.
Remember, you'll experience less pain and stiffness when you maintain good posture.
Since spinal injections reduce pain and improve mobility, they'll also help you to form better posture habits. Maintaining good posture will also help reduce your chronic pain in the future.
Decrease the Need for Surgery
Spinal injections can also reduce your need for more invasive surgeries or procedures to help with pain management.
Temporary pain relief combined with increased activity and therapeutic exercises can allow you to treat your chronic pain without surgery.
Safe and Noninvasive
Spinal injections are safe, with low risks of complications and side effects. They're also noninvasive, so they don't require much downtime.
Usually, you'll be able to resume your normal activities the next day.
Cons of Spinal Injections
While spinal injections have many benefits, there are cons you'll need to consider. First, although side effects aren't common, you could experience injection effects like:
- Temporary increase of pain before the medication begins working
- You can have adverse medication reactions like a rash or hot flashes
- Nerve damage at the injection site
- High doses of steroids can weaken bones nearby
- Chronic pain due to nerve damage
- Low blood pressure
- Blood clots or hematomas at the injection site
Additionally, people with diabetes can experience high blood sugar levels for hours or days after the injection. If you have glaucoma, you may experience an increase in eye pressure or blood pressure.
Although the risks of side effects are low, all procedures carry risks. Before the procedure, you'll thoroughly discuss the risks with your doctor and your current health conditions.
See a Pain Management Specialist About Spinal Injections
Now that you know more about spinal injections, your next step is to find an experienced pain management doctor in your area.
You won't need to look any further than Innovative Pain Care Center. Our goal is to provide high-quality care to people living in Las Vegas, Summerlin, and Henderson, Nevada. We offer a variety of back pain solutions, including epidural steroid injections, caudal steroid injections, facet joint injections, and more.
We can also help you with medication management and create a treatment plan to help you live a pain-free life.
We look forward to helping you, so make sure you contact us today to schedule an appointment!
Category: Back Pain