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Do I Need an Injection: Deciding When to Intervene

Statistics show that most adults suffer at least one case of neck or lower back pain sometime during their life. These painful bouts can be caused by muscle strain, injury, or just natural degeneration due to age. 

For most people, this pain goes away with time or conventional treatment. However, for a minority of patients, it turns into chronic pain that can be debilitating. 

If your neck or back pain isn’t responding to traditional medical care, it’s time to visit Dr. Eric Fanaee, a pain management specialist with locations in West Islip and Smithtown, New York. While Dr. Fanaee offers a range of groundbreaking pain therapies, one of the best options for neck and back pain is an epidural steroid injection.

What problems can epidural steroid injections treat?

Epidural steroid injections work by treating nerves in your spinal cord that are compressed. If you’re suffering from conditions caused by pinched or damaged nerves, these injections can help.

Herniated discs

Spinal discs have a gel-like center covered in a fibrous layer to cushion the vertebrae in your spine. When the outer covering becomes damaged, the inside gel-like center can herniate, pushing out of your disc and pushing against nerves nearby. 

Osteoarthritic bone spurs

Osteoarthritis can damage vertebral joints, which can often lead to the development of bony growths called bone spurs. Osteoarthritic spurs can start to pinch the surrounding nerves as they continue to enlarge. 

Degenerative disc disease

Degenerative disc disease refers to when your vertebral discs start to dehydrate and degenerate. This can lead to pinched nerves or bone spurs, both of which can cause nerve-related back pain. 

Spinal stenosis

Spinal stenosis is an abnormal narrowing of your spinal canal, and it can be caused by any of the conditions listed above. As the spinal canal narrows, it can start compressing the nerves and causing pain.

Spondylolisthesis

Spondylolisthesis is caused when a vertebra in the spine slips forward or backward out of position, leading to nerve compression. Depending on where your nerve is compressed, it can cause tingling, numbness, or pain anywhere in your neck, shoulder, or lower back. 

If this compresses the sciatic nerve, the longest nerve in your body, it can cause sciatica. This condition can cause electric-shock sensations and pain that radiates to your legs and feet. 

How epidural steroid injections work

Epidural steroid injections are incredibly effective at relieving pain. Here’s why these injections work so well.

Powerful corticosteroid relief

Epidural steroids contain a corticosteroid, which is a strong anti-inflammatory medication. A corticosteroid works by reducing inflammation and swelling around your compressed or pinched nerves, treating your pain quickly and effectively. 

Targeted treatment

Epidural steroid injections are great at relieving nerve pain because they’re injected directly into the epidural space — the area between your spinal cord membrane and your vertebrae. This allows the medication to get to work directly on your targeted nerves.

We use real-time imaging to see the needle as well as your vertebrae, nerves, and epidural space. This allows us to precisely target your damaged nerves without causing any additional discomfort. 

What to expect during an epidural steroid injection

An epidural steroid injection session with Dr. Fanaee takes about 15-45 minutes. 

First, Dr. Fanaee numbs the area around your injection site with a local anesthetic so you don’t feel any pain. He then uses state-of-the-art imaging technology to guide the needle.

You should feel potent pain relief shortly after your procedure. Following your injection, our team monitors you briefly before releasing you to go home. 

You might experience some soreness around the injection site, but you should be able to get back to your normal routine on the same day. Depending on the level of pain relief you feel, you might need additional injections spaced 1-4 weeks apart to get the maximum effect. 

If your neck or back pain has been unresponsive to traditional treatments, it’s time to call Dr. Fanaee to learn about your specialized pain relief options, including epidural injections. To find out more, call our office at 631-422-5371 or use our online booking tool to schedule a consultation today.

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