Epidural Injections Specialist

Glenn M. Flanagan, MD -  - Interventional Spine & Pain Specialist

Naples Regenerative Institute

Glenn M. Flanagan, MD

Interventional Spine & Pain Specialist & Regenerative Orthopedic Medicine located in Naples, FL

Conservative treatments such as physical therapy and biological injectables like stem cells and platelet-rich plasma (PRP) are often highly effective in treating musculoskeletal pain. If your condition isn’t improving with these methods, double board-certified pain management specialist Glenn Flanagan, MD, of Naples Regenerative Institute in Naples, Florida, can help. Dr. Flanagan offers epidural injections when patients have run out of other choices. Find out if epidural injections are suitable for you by calling Naples Regenerative Institute today or book an appointment online.

Epidural Injections Q & A

What are epidural injections?

Epidural injections deliver an anti-inflammatory steroid medication (cortisone) to the epidural space that surrounds your spinal canal. The injections often contain a local anesthetic as well. Sometimes, regenerative treatments with platelet-rich plasma (PRP) may be indicated.

Inside your spinal canal is the central nerve hub (spinal cord) from which all the nerves that extend throughout your body originate. Injecting medication into the epidural space is highly effective in targeting back, neck, leg, and arm pain caused by inflamed or compressed nerves.

The anesthetic in epidural injections provides almost instant relief from pain, but this only lasts a short time. However, the cortisone has a long-term effect that can potentially reduce pain and inflammation for several months and sometimes longer.  Dr. Flanagan chooses medications for epidural injections based on individual patient history and diagnosis.

When would I need epidural injections? 

Dr. Flanagan might suggest you try epidural injections if other treatments aren’t relieving your pain sufficiently.

Health insurance often covers steroid injections, but cortisone can be toxic to your tissues and cause cells to die (tissue necrosis). High doses or repeated injections of cortisone increase the risk of side effects such as:

  • Muscle atrophy
  • Tendon tears
  • Ligament tears
  • Cartilage loss
  • Necrosis of bones

Steroid injections might also speed up degenerative changes associated with aging. It’s therefore important to limit the use of cortisone whenever possible. For that reason, Dr. Flanagan uses low-dose cortisone injections that are safer than standard doses while still being effective.

For patients who do not respond to steroids, or choose to avoid them all together, regenerative medicine treatments like platelet-rich plasma (PRP) may be indicated instead. Prolotherapy and stem cell therapy can also be used for treating areas of the spine to help decrease the need for future epidurals.

What type of pain can epidural injections treat?

Epidural injections can be effective in treating a range of musculoskeletal conditions, including:

  • Arthritis
  • Spinal stenosis
  • Spondylolisthesis
  • Herniated discs
  • Bone spurs
  • Radiculopathy
  • Sciatica
  • Degenerative disc disease

Epidurals with local anesthetics or steroids don’t address the underlying problem, but the pain relief they can provide may make it easier for you to take part in your physical therapy program.

What happens when I have an epidural injection?

Before having epidural injections, you need to undergo a physical exam and medical history review to make sure you’re a suitable candidate for the treatment.

Dr. Flanagan performs epidural injections as an outpatient procedure. He uses sophisticated imaging technology to guide the needle safely into the epidural space at a position close to the root of your pain. You might feel some pressure as the needle goes in, but a local anesthetic beforehand numbs your skin so you don’t experience any pain.

To find out if epidural injections could help with your pain condition, call Naples Regenerative Institute today or book an appointment online.