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When to Consider an Epidural for Your Lower Back Pain

When to Consider an Epidural for Your Lower Back Pain

You may have heard of an epidural in the context of giving birth, but one of the most common uses of epidural is to block nerve pain in cases of chronic lower back pain. It’s not an appropriate treatment in every case of lower back pain, though. 

Most of the time, the expert providers at all the Orthocenter locations begin with the least invasive treatment approach and, if that doesn’t work, they suggest a different approach. For example, you may begin treatments with physical therapy, then move to medications. An epidural is usually used in combination with other types of interventions to manage your pain

How an epidural works

Your doctor injects a mixture of medications to help decrease pain and inflammation in your spine. They use an X-ray to precisely guide the needle to the area where the medications can do the most good. The medications may include steroids or numbing agents. 

Your spinal cord is surrounded by a membrane and the space between the membrane and your spinal cord is called the epidural space. An epidural injection is made into that space where the medications can reach the nerves of the spinal cord. 

It’s not permanent

How quickly you get relief depends at least in part on what medications your doctor uses, but all epidural injections are temporary. You may feel relief in a few days and it may last weeks, months, or up to a year. 

You have time 

You may be wondering why you’d get an epidural injection if it’s not going to provide lasting relief. Often, doctors suggest an epidural so that you have enough relief to participate in other types of rehabilitation. 

For example, if your lower back pain is so bad you can’t effectively perform exercises to strengthen the structures that support your spine, an epidural may make it so that you can. In many instances, the epidural allows you to get stronger and that, in turn, eases your pain. 

How it feels

We use local anesthetic so that you’re comfortable during the procedure. You may feel a pinch when we give you the anesthetic, and you’ll feel what some people describe as pressure or tingling as the medicine is injected.

There are different techniques for administering epidural injections. All of the providers at Orthocenter are highly skilled and choose the technique that’s most likely to be effective in your particular situation. 


Epidural injections work better to provide relief for some conditions than for others. Some of the conditions our doctors recommend epidurals to treat include: 

Epidural injections usually work best when you have leg pain in conjunction with your lower back pain. Your condition, the medications, the technique your doctor uses to administer the injection, and other factors all make a difference in whether or not you get relief from an epidural injection. 

Your situation

When you have a problem with your spine, you want a team of well-qualified experts giving you guidance and helping you understand your situation. That’s exactly what we offer at Orthocenter.

An epidural injection isn’t a suitable treatment for everyone with lower back pain, and before you have one, you probably have lots of questions. We can offer answers based on your specific circumstances. 

Schedule your appointment today at the most convenient location of Orthocenter to learn more about epidural injections. 

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