A spinal stenosis epidural injection can be used to help alleviate back or neck pain caused by spinal stenosis, which is a narrowing or obstruction in the spinal canal that can press upon nerve roots and cause severe pain. This narrowing is typically caused by an obstruction in the spinal column such as enlarged ligaments, a bulging disc, or a bone spur. A steroidal anti-inflammatory injection can soothe the compressed nerve roots that are the source of the pain, but the effect is temporary and one injection usually is not enough.
The decision to use spinal stenosis epidural injections often comes after a series of more conservative spinal stenosis treatments have failed. It’s not uncommon for your doctor to prescribe exercise or physical therapy, over-the-counter pain medicine, or other non-surgical treatment before suggesting an epidural. Furthermore, these injections are usually prescribed for moderate to severe spinal stenosis – mild cases of the disease may not qualify for epidural injections.
If you decide to receive an epidural injection for your back or neck pain, here’s what to expect:
- An X-ray, MRI or CT scan can be used to locate the pain’s origin.
- A health professional will prescribe a combination of steroidal anti-inflammatory and local anesthesia.
- The medication will be injected into the epidural space, which is the area around the spinal cord and nerve roots. An imaging machine called a fluoroscope can be used to determine the exact injection site.
- The local anesthesia should provide almost immediate relief. The steroidal anti-inflammatory takes effect over time.
- You and your doctor will monitor the effect of the epidural and decide whether more injections are necessary to relieve your spinal stenosis.
While the short-term relief of back or neck pain through the use of steroid injections can be extremely beneficial for the treatment of spinal stenosis symptoms, the effect tends to wear off over time. Many patients find that the temporary period of pain relief allows them to live more comfortably as they receive physical therapy and consider their surgical treatment options.
Fortunately, there are several minimally invasive, outpatient procedures available at Laser Spine Institute (LSI). Contact the staff at LSI for more information on spinal stenosis epidural injections, or to learn about our revolutionary endoscopic techniques that can help you rediscover a life without pain.