When is an Epidural Injection the Best Choice?

 When is an Epidural Injection the Best Choice?

Epidural injections are a helpful tool during childbirth and a treatment for pain originating around your spine. The epidural space surrounds nerve roots in your spinal cord and is the targeted area for epidural injections. The injections contain a steroid to fight inflammation and a local anesthetic to provide immediate pain relief. 

Using a steroid to reduce targeted inflammation can take inflammatory pressure off nearby nerves and nerve roots. That calms them and reduces symptoms, like local back pain, as well as pain radiating into your limbs. 

Glenn M. Flanagan, MD, of Naples Regenerative Institute in Naples, Florida, provides epidural steroid injections as one of many options to relieve neck, back, or limb pain that originates near the spine. This is one of many techniques that Dr. Flanagan offers to help reduce pain and dysfunction originating from the spine.

While an epidural injection isn’t always the best choice for everyone experiencing painful symptoms, many people find long-lasting improvements from the treatment. Here’s how to know when it’s the best choice for you:

When other treatments can’t suffice

An epidural injection is usually not the first treatment. Instead, Dr. Flanagan often uses epidural injections when you’ve already tried other treatments but have not experienced an improvement in your pain. 

Before you try epidural steroid injections, you might attempt treatment with:

While too many steroid injections can lead to complications, like bone necrosis, increased tissue tears, and muscle atrophy, Dr. Flanagan minimizes your risk of these issues by offering epidural injections with low-dose steroids instead of the large standard doses. The lower doses he provides are more than enough to reduce painful inflammation while greatly limiting side effects. 

When you have disc problems or others causing nerve compression

The discs in your spine are located between the stacked vertebrae (bones) and absorb shock when you move. They allow your spine flexibility so you can bend and twist. 

Each disc has a central portion (nucleus) surrounded by an outer layer called the annulus. These discs can weaken over time, resulting in degenerative disc disease or a herniated disc, which happens when the annulus tears and part of the nucleus slips out. 

Degenerative disc disease and herniated discs can result in pressure on nerve roots near the spine within the epidural space, which leads to local and referred pain. Reducing inflammation with an epidural steroid injection can lead to less pain in these areas while giving the disc a chance to heal.

Epidural injections are usually a good fit for disc issues, but that’s not all they can treat. Dr. Flanagan might recommend an epidural injection to relieve inflammatory pressure from bone spurs, spinal stenosis, and other spinal conditions. 

While some people experience permanent pain relief from an epidural steroid injection, others benefit from occasionally repeating injections. 

Wondering if an epidural injection is the best choice for your treatment? Schedule a consultation by phone or online at Naples Regenerative Institute today.

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