What Are Spine Injections?
Often, doctors recommend spine injections for patients suffering from chronic back pain. Pain can be caused by inflammation of the spine due to nerve damage or other medical conditions like a herniated disk. With spinal injections, doctors deliver pain medication directly to the affected areas. This treatment effectively relieves pain for weeks, months, or years. In most cases, the medicine is a steroid. Who makes a good candidate for this pain management option?
Types of spine injections
There are several types of spine injections doctors use to treat spine pain. These injections medicate a specific area like a joint or nerve. First, doctors prep the area using a numbing agent. Then, the area is injected with the prescribed medication. Some spine injections include:
- Sacroiliac joint injections
- Nerve block injections, such as a medial branch or selective nerve root
- Facet joint
- Radiofrequency ablation
Another form of spine injection is discography. This is like a diagnostic test where doctors use several different types of spine injections to diagnose pain.
What type of steroids do doctors use?
In epidural injections, doctors use a corticosteroid. Corticosteroids are medications that relieve inflammation. Steroid injections also work to calm the immune system, which helps to alleviate painful sensations. In addition to the steroids, doctors also inject a saline solution in the affected area. Saline helps to flush out toxins and other agents that contribute to inflammation.
How do nerve blocks work?
Nerve block injections are intended to injure the problematic nerve to stop the pain in the area. Neurolytic block injections freeze the damaged nerve. Another type of nerve block injection, radiofrequency ablation, sends electric shocks to the nerve causing lesions. In more extreme cases, doctors may go in and surgically remove the damaged nerve from the body.
Are spine injections a cure?
Although spine injections are a great way to alleviate pain, these injections do not fix a pinched nerve or damaged disc. The spine is an intricate system of nerves, tendons, and joints that go through normal wear and tear throughout a person’s lifetime. What spinal injections can do is encourage healing by relieving inflammation and pain. With this relief, patients can take part in physical therapy and other treatments that may have been too difficult to perform without pain medication.
Should I speak to a doctor?
Only a licensed medical professional can administer steroid injections. These treatments can be done at an outpatient facility, but consultation and testing must be done beforehand. Speak with a doctor to learn more about steroid injections and other pain management treatment options.