Myths and Facts About Epidural Injections

Have you been living with chronic pain? Depending on your condition, you may benefit from an epidural injection. 

Here’s how it works: The epidural space in your spine is between your vertebral wall and the dura mater (the membrane surrounding your spinal cord). This area is filled with fatty tissue and blood vessels that protect and nourish your spinal cord. Inflammation in this part of your spine can compress nerves and cause pain in your neck, arms, back, and legs. 

An epidural injection delivers powerful anti-inflammatory steroids and local anesthetic into this area to provide lasting pain relief.

At Pain Management Specialists in Rockville, Maryland, Stuart Hough, MD, and Ramani Peruvemba, MD, our experienced interventional pain management specialists and anesthesiologists, incorporate epidural injections into treatment plans for a wide range of painful conditions

Despite how effective and widely used epidural injections are, they’re often misunderstood. In this post, we’ll clear up some myths so you can feel confident in your pain management decisions. 

Epidural injections aren't just for childbirth

Many people associate epidurals with pain relief during labor and delivery. While this potent medication can certainly ease labor pains, we also offer in-office epidural injections for other types of pain. Epidural injections include a combination of local anesthetic and corticosteroids, which provide immediate relief and long-lasting anti-inflammatory effects. 

Epidural injections reduce nerve compression and related symptoms. Spinal inflammation can be caused by several issues, including:

We usually recommend epidural injections when less invasive methods of pain relief haven't worked. Epidural injections often offer enough relief so that you can undergo physical therapy and other treatments.

Epidural injections provide lasting relief

First, keep in mind that corticosteroids, like other anti-inflammatory medicines, don't necessarily provide permanent pain relief. However, an injection can reduce inflammation in your spine for up to a year. Often within 12 months, you can complete a treatment program to resolve the issue that caused the inflammation in the first place. 

Depo-methylprednisolone can take a couple of days to take effect. Fortunately, an epidural injection also includes a local anesthetic, which provides nearly immediate relief that lasts until the steroid kicks in. 

Epidural injections are safe

Our pain management specialists conduct a thorough exam and review of your medical history before recommending any treatment, including epidural steroid injections. While these injections are not recommended for pregnant women or for people who take blood thinners, the treatment has little to no risk for most people. 

Our physicians use fluoroscopy, a type of X-ray, to accurately guide the placement of the injection for optimal relief. We also provide either a local anesthetic or intravenous sedation, so you feel nothing during the injection.

If you're awake during your injection, you may feel slight pressure sensation as the injection is delivered to the targeted region in your spinal canal. Most people who get epidural injections tolerate the procedure quite well and can get back to their regular activities almost immediately.

Epidural injections help restore your quality of life

Epidural injections provide sufficient pain relief to allow for physical therapy, manipulation, and other nonsurgical therapies that address the condition causing your pain.

However, while they do reduce inflammation and swelling in irritated nerve regions, they don't always correct the root cause of pain, such as spinal stenosis.

Our goal is to help you return to a more normal life. An epidural injection can reduce the financial, social, and emotional distress caused by chronic pain and restore your overall wellness and quality of life.

If you're experiencing chronic pain, schedule an in-office or virtual visit with our team at Pain Management Specialists. Call the office or book an appointment online today.

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