When to Consider Back Injections

Do you struggle with chronic back pain that doesn’t respond to more conservative treatments? You may be a candidate for back injections.

Back injections are the laymen’s term for epidural steroid injections (ESI). The treatment targets some of the causes of back pain by introducing medication directly into the epidural space of your spine. The medication should reduce inflammation and swelling and thereby relieve much of your discomfort.

Could ESI be right for you? Here’s what you need to know.

back injections

What is ESI?

ESI injections are a way of delivering medications directly into the area that’s creating your pain. In most cases, they contain a mix of steroids, anti-inflammatories, and anesthetic.

Your spine specialist in Tampa, FL may recommend one of three types:

  • Interlaminar epidural injections (an ESI between your lamina bones)
  • Caudal epidural (injection very low in your spine)
  • Transforaminal (injection at the nerve root)

Each of these targets different types of pain.

Who Should Try Back Injections?

ESI isn’t the right treatment for every type of back pain.

The people who benefit most from the treatment are people with low back pain caused by a leaking or bulging disc. It can also treat foraminal stenosis, which causes nerve compression. ESI is also used to treat:

  • Failed Back Surgery Syndrome (FBSS)
  • Herniated disc
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Sciatica
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis

It’s possible to use ESI for neck pain, too. However, it’s often considered to be too risky, and the practice is generally avoided in favor put the interlaminar or the caudal epidural type of injections.

Back injections are an aggressive form of treatment of inflammation and back pain. You will typically try all other non-invasive options first before considering steroids.

Will Back Injections Work?

You and your specialist may decide that you’re ready to try it. Many patients do find pain relief as a result of the treatment.

However, it’s worth noting that while they target inflammation, they won’t heal an underlying condition. They can soothe discomfort and make day-to-day life easier, but they do wear off if the injury or condition itself doesn’t heal.

If your injections make little to no difference in your chronic pain and you have a diagnosis that warrants it, your provider may recommend spinal surgery.

Is It Possible to Get More Injections?

If the relief isn’t what you’re expecting, you might wonder if you can be more aggressive with the injections. Unfortunately, it’s important to follow a careful treatment plan. If you have too many in the same area, you could cause tissues to break down.

Your specialist won’t recommend more than three to four injections each year per area treated.

Do You Have More Questions?

Lastly, are you wondering whether back injections are right for you? Only a spine specialist can tell you whether ESI is a good option for your pain.

Get in touch today to request an appointment with Moreno Spine & Scoliosis to learn about your back pain treatment options.