The epidural space around your spinal cord is a narrow gap that makes a perfect access point for powerful pain-killing medications like steroids. Wadid Zaky, MD, at Delmarva Spine & Pain in Berlin, Maryland, and Ocean View, Delaware uses epidural injections to deliver steroids to the seat of your pain, offering relief that can last for many months. If you're finding your current back or neck pain therapies aren't helping relieve your symptoms, epidural injections are often the next step. To find out if they're right for you, call Delmarva Spine & Pain today or book an appointment online.
Epidural injections can help with chronic pain that isn't getting better using frontline treatments like physical therapy. Dr. Zaky injects medication into the epidural space that surrounds your spinal cord, from where injured tissues and nerves can absorb it in concentrated doses.
The injections contain steroid medication, a potent anti-inflammatory, and usually have a local anesthetic as well. The steroids offer a long-term reduction in pain and inflammation, while the anesthetic gives you a few hours of complete or almost complete relief from your pain.
Dr. Zaky uses epidural injections to treat a variety of spinal conditions, including:
Radiculopathy is where changes in your spine create pressure on the nerves, causing pain and other issues like numbness, "pins and needles" sensations, or burning and tingling. Any spinal condition could cause radiculopathy in your spine.
If you have cervical radiculopathy in your neck, your symptoms might extend down your arms. With lumbar radiculopathy in your lower back, the symptoms typically radiate into your buttocks, hips, and legs. Sciatica is a form of lumbar radiculopathy.
Before your epidural injection, Dr. Zaky gives you an injection of local anesthetic to numb your spine, and you might need a sedative to keep you relaxed.
You lie facedown on a treatment table, and Dr. Zaky uses imaging technology like fluoroscopy to guide the needle placement. This ensures that your medication is in the correct place and avoids the risk of damaging any spinal structures with the needle.
The local anesthetic in your epidural injection works instantly, so when your procedure is complete, you should feel profound relief from your pain. This numbing only lasts a short while, but as it wears off, your pain shouldn't return to its previous levels.
As the anesthetic effects recede, the steroid medication is getting to work reducing inflammation, a leading cause of pain. Many patients find that breaking the cycle of pain — interrupting the constancy of pain with the anesthetic — helps as well.
These improvements could last for several months and often longer.
If you think epidural injections could help with your chronic pain, call Delmarva Spine & Pain today or book an appointment online.