Tips to Extend Pain Relief From an Epidural

Tips to Extend Pain Relief From an Epidural

Finding a solution for chronic back pain can be a long journey. What works for some people doesn’t always work for others, and effective pain management often takes trial and error.

And if you’re considering an epidural for back pain, you might be wondering how long the relief will last. Eric Fanaee, MD, and our team specialize in epidurals and pain management, and we’re here to answer your questions.

Epidural steroid injections can offer significant pain relief — and with a few tips, you can extend their effectiveness. Here’s what you should know before getting this popular treatment.

How epidurals relieve back pain

Epidurals might be best known for pain management during childbirth. The treatment involves injecting medication directly into the space surrounding your spinal cord and the nerves in your lower back, and it can be an effective treatment option for chronic back pain, too.

Epidural injections for back pain usually contain a combination of local anesthetic and corticosteroid. The anesthetic numbs the affected nerves and temporarily blocks pain signals from reaching your brain; the corticosteroid reduces inflammation and swelling in the area, providing longer-lasting relief.

How long does pain relief from an epidural last?

Epidurals start offering noticeable pain relief almost immediately, thanks to the local anesthetic in the shot. The relief continues as the corticosteroid starts fighting inflammation, but how long it lasts varies from person to person.

The effects of an epidural can continue for several months or longer. However, some people may notice pain returning sooner. Factors like the underlying cause of your back pain, your overall health, and the specific medications used in your epidural influence how long you experience relief.

How to extend pain relief from your epidural

How long you can expect to experience relief from an epidural varies — but there are a few ways to maximize your results. Depending on your situation, you may be able to extend the pain relief from your epidural by:

Following post-injection guidelines

After administering your epidural, we provide specific instructions for post-injection care. Following these guidelines helps lower your risk of complications and increase the likelihood of successful pain relief.

Every patient’s guidelines are different, but we may recommend avoiding strenuous activities, applying ice to the injection site, and taking any prescribed medications as directed.

Staying active

Rest helps you recover right after receiving an epidural, but you should plan to reintroduce moderate activity fairly quickly. Gentle activities like walking or swimming can help maintain flexibility, strengthen your back muscles, and prevent stiffness as your epidural gets to work.

Practicing good posture

Poor posture can exacerbate back pain and reduce the effectiveness of an epidural. Focus on maintaining proper posture throughout your daily activities, whether sitting, standing, or lifting objects. Use ergonomic chairs and pillows to support your spine.

Participating in physical therapy

For many people with chronic back pain, physical therapy can complement the effects of an epidural injection and other pain management techniques. A physical therapist can tailor exercises to strengthen your back muscles, improve flexibility, and correct any imbalances that are contributing to your pain.

Communicating with your healthcare team

Last but not least, keep open lines of communication with Dr. Fanaee and our team regarding your pain levels, any changes in symptoms, or concerns you may have. We’re here to help you find the best pain management strategies for your needs, and we can adjust your treatment plan as needed so you achieve optimal pain relief.

By incorporating these tips into your routine, you can maximize the pain relief you get from an epidural injection. Everyone's experience with back pain and epidural injections is unique, and with the right approach, relief is possible.

Schedule an appointment with Dr. Fanaee to learn more about epidural injections and find out if you’re a candidate. Call us at 631-265-2020 or book an appointment at one of our offices in Bethpage, Smithtown, and West Islip, New York, today.

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