The spine is a complex structure that runs from your pelvis to the base of your skull. Your spine supports the weight of your entire upper body — and when you have spinal pain, it limits your ability to enjoy life.
Nearly everyone suffers back pain or neck pain at some point in their lives. Although many episodes of acute pain go away on their own, chronic pain lasts for weeks, months, or years.
Identifying the cause of your pain and finding ways to alleviate it takes expertise and understanding. Eric Fanaee, MD, and our team specialize in pain management to help people live better. If you have lingering back pain or neck pain, it’s time to learn more about how epidural steroid injections can quiet your pain and improve your quality of life.
How epidural injections treat back and neck pain
Your spinal cord is a bundle of nerves that runs up the center of your spine. It’s protected by your vertebral bones and cushioned by vertebral discs, but problems such as degeneration and injury can cause spinal nerve damage and irritation.
An epidural steroid injection combines corticosteroid medications and local anesthetic to treat spinal pain. The injection is administered in the epidural space around your spinal cord, with the goal of reducing nerve irritation and inflammation.
Getting an epidural steroid injection takes just a few minutes. Dr. Fanaee guides the needle into your spine near the site of your nerve inflammation. As soon as he administers the injection, the anesthetic starts reducing pain right away. The corticosteroid takes effect over the next few days.
These minimally invasive injections aren’t a permanent solution to back or neck pain, but they can provide significant relief for many people because they target the inflammation and irritation that’s causing pain. One study found that 70%-90% of people who got an epidural injection for lower back pain experienced pain relief that lasted up to one year.
Epidural steroid injections have a low risk of serious side effects. If you find that the injection is effective in relieving your pain, talk to Dr. Fanaee about whether you’re a candidate for a series of injections for longer-lasting relief.
When to try epidural injections for pain
Dr. Fanaee specializes in diagnosing and treating conditions that cause spinal pain. He starts with a comprehensive pain evaluation, and he reviews your medical history and your symptoms. He might order medical imaging, like an X-ray, to confirm a diagnosis.
After he pinpoints the cause of your back or neck pain, he develops a personalized treatment plan. He can recommend self-care measures to try for a few weeks. If you’ve tried at-home care and you still have pain, he may recommend other noninvasive treatments like physical therapy or oral pain medication.
If you still have pain, Dr. Fanaee may recommend moving to more advanced treatment options. Epidural steroid injections target inflammation within your spine to reduce the pain you feel. He may suggest the injections for conditions like:
- Inflammation along your spine
- Nerve damage in your neck
- Nerve damage in your lower back
- Spinal stenosis
If you’ve been diagnosed with one of these conditions and you’ve tried other treatments without relief, epidural steroid injections could alleviate your pain.
Spinal pain is complex, and finding effective treatment can be a frustrating process. Talk to Dr. Fanaee to learn more about the possible causes of your back or neck pain and find out if epidural steroid injections could be a good option for you. Call our office at 631-265-2020 or book an appointment online now.