A lumbar epidural injection is a nonsurgical treatment that can help reduce lower back and leg pain caused by inflamed spinal nerves. The procedure places anti-inflammatory medication into a specific region of the spine near the affected nerve, providing temporary pain relief that allows the patient to resume normal activities or a physical therapy program.
You are likely familiar with epidural injections used during childbirth to help manage the pain of labor and delivery. While that is the image for many people when they hear the word epidural, it is not the only use for these powerful, pain-blocking injections. A therapeutic epidural block is a nonsurgical treatment used to relieve pain that starts in the spine and radiates to the legs. The syringe contains a mixture of a local anesthetic medication and an anti-inflammatory steroid medication that is delivered to the area of your spine where the pain originates. Epidural injections can be particularly useful when used as part of a more comprehensive treatment plan that includes a physical rehabilitation program.
Lumbar epidural injections are a type of epidural block used to reduce inflammation, swelling and irritation of a disk or nerve in your back. When the medication is injected into the epidural space of the spine, the steroids inhibit your body’s inflammatory response and reduce the activity of your immune system. The treatment can improve many conditions that cause severe acute or chronic pain in the back and legs, including sciatica, spinal stenosis, disc herniation and degenerative disc disease. Epidural injections can also help your doctor diagnose the source of your pain.
The treatment area is numbed at the start of the procedure to ensure your comfort throughout your appointment. When the medication has taken effect, a type of x-ray called fluoroscopy is used to visualize the treatment area and guide the placement of the injection. A small amount of dye is also injected to ensure the needle is correctly positioned in the epidural space. The epidural mixture of anesthetic and anti-inflammatory is then delivered into the area of the spine causing your pain. After injection, you will be monitored for a short period as you recover before being discharged home. You may return to your normal activities the following day.
The effects of epidural injections vary from patient to patient. Many patients report reduced pain in their low back and legs that allows them to return to their daily routine or a physical therapy program. The pain relief is temporary and can last anywhere from days to a year depending on the unique circumstances of your condition. The procedure may be repeated up to three times in one year. Many patients find that alleviating their pain with epidural injections has numerous additional benefits, including reduced painkiller use, better mental health and substantial improvement to the quality of life. If you are struggling with chronic pain in the lower back and legs, help is available. Contact the Orthopaedic Institute of Ohio today at 419-222-6622 to find out how we can help you reduce your pain and enjoy a higher quality of life.