When to Consider an Epidural for Chronic Back Pain

When to Consider an Epidural for Chronic Back Pain

Most people know how low back pain feels. For those who have chronic back pain, it might be hard to remember what life is like without back pain! 

At Orthocenter, our outstanding providers work to help you remain as mobile as possible. We know that to live a full, active, and healthy life, you need to be able to function at your best. We offer many treatments aimed at helping you move; one of the most popular among those with back pain is an epidural steroid injection. 

The epidural space

You probably know that your spine is made up of vertebrae with cushioning discs between them, and that your spinal cord runs down the middle of them. 

You may not know that the space surrounding your spinal cord, which is a thick bundle of nerves, is called the epidural space. It’s filled with fat, which protects the nerves of your spinal cord. 

Why nerves become inflamed or irritated

Sometimes the nerves passing through the epidural space become irritated or inflamed, leading to pain. Numerous circumstances can lead to nerve irritation. 

For example, if one of your discs is bulging or herniated, it could press on a nerve, causing inflammation and irritation. You may also have arthritis in your spine, or a condition called spinal stenosis, where your spinal canal becomes narrower and presses on your nerves.

The inflammation and irritation can cause pain both in your back and radiating down your arms or legs. The latter is called radicular pain, and it may be tingling, numb, or painful.

The injection

When you have an epidural steroid injection, your doctor precisely injects a steroid into your epidural space where the nerves are irritated or inflamed. The steroids calm the nerves and can help reduce the inflammation. As a result, you feel less pain. 

Not everyone has exactly the same response to an epidural injection. Some people have slightly worse pain for two or three days, then feel some relief. Some people enjoy a great deal of relief for 3-6 months, and others find a lesser degree of relief. 

For most people, an epidural injection provides enough pain relief to begin physical therapy or rehabilitation exercises to address the underlying issue. The epidural injection may represent only one small part of your overall treatment plan. 

Depending on your situation, your provider may suggest additional treatments after an epidural injection. It’s important to understand that our highly qualified providers tailor your treatment plan carefully to suit your overall health needs. 

If you’re experiencing chronic back pain, call or click to request an appointment at one of the three convenient locations of Orthocenter in Red Bank, Morganville, and Holmdel, New Jersey. We’re happy to discuss your symptoms, provide an evaluation, and suggest a course of treatment. 

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