An epidural injection is a shot of pain or inflammation-relieving medication into the epidural space of the spine. The epidural space is the fat-filled region surrounding and insulating the spinal cord. It serves the purpose of protecting the spinal cord and nearby nerves from damage.
When medication enters the epidural space during epidural injections, the pain relief can be either short- or long-term. Typically, epidural injections involve a corticosteroid, which reduces inflammation around the spinal cord, and possibly a local anesthetic like lidocaine for an immediate numbing effect.
You can get epidural injections wherever the pain originates along your spinal column. Most often, people experience pain originating in either the lumbar region (low back) or cervical region (neck) of the spine. To make sure the injection goes to the right place, Pain Specialists of Oregon uses fluoroscopy (X-ray) guidance.
The team at Pain Specialists of Oregon provides two types of epidural injections for all regions of the spine. After an in-depth examination with possible imaging tests to make or confirm a pain diagnosis, the team might recommend epidural injections with either of these approaches:
Interlaminar epidural injections enter the epidural space by way of an opening between two vertebrae in the back of the spine called the interlaminar window. That is the simplest way to access the epidural space with an injection and involves minimal discomfort because the needle lands far from the damaged nerve root.
Transforaminal epidural injections enter the epidural space through the bony opening directly corresponding to the irritated nerve root. These injections are more complex than interlaminar epidural injections but can be more effective in some cases. They require fluoroscopy guidance every time.
Epidural injections can treat pain that originates in nerve roots exiting the spinal cord. Nerve roots branch out into the nerves that reach every corner of your body, so irritation at a nerve root can cause widespread or referred pain in regions other than the back or neck. Irritation of nerve roots often comes from tissue inflammation near the spine.
Pain Specialists of Oregon might include epidural injections in your treatment for:
It takes 1-3 days for the effects of the steroid in your epidural injections to take effect. If you experience positive results from your treatment, which can lend up to several months of relief, you can come back in for follow-up injections at Pain Specialists of Oregon.
To learn more about epidural injections and their benefits for pain conditions, call Pain Specialists of Oregon or book an appointment online today.