Exploring the Benefits of Epidural Injections

May 08, 2024

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Epidural injections are a part of many healthcare plans provided by our Pain Management specialists at Garden State Pain and Orthopedics. Read to learn more about how epidurals can help treat your chronic or acute back pain.

Our team of doctors at Garden State Pain and Orthopedics specialize in pain management, especially for those suffering from chronic back pain or related conditions. Epidural injections are a common therapeutic option for those suffering from chronic and acute pain. These injections, administered into the epidural space surrounding the spinal cord, can provide significant relief for individuals grappling with debilitating pain. Whether you were recently in a car accident, suffered a sports injury, are pregnant, or experience chronic pain, an epidural can help relieve your pain in the short term.

What are epidural injections?

Epidural injections are a minimally invasive procedure wherein medication, typically a combination of corticosteroids and a local anesthetic, is injected into the epidural space. This space surrounds the spinal cord and spinal nerves and is situated between the protective covering of the spinal cord and the bony vertebrae. By delivering medication directly to the affected area, epidural injections aim to reduce inflammation and alleviate pain stemming from various spinal conditions.

What conditions do epidurals treat?

Epidural injections are commonly prescribed to manage pain associated with a range of spinal conditions, including:

  1. Herniated Discs: When the soft inner material of a spinal disc protrudes through its outer layer, it can irritate nearby nerves, causing pain, numbness, or weakness.
  2. Spinal Stenosis: This condition involves the narrowing of the spinal canal, which can compress the spinal cord and nerves, leading to pain, numbness, or weakness.
  3. Degenerative Disc Disease: As spinal discs degenerate over time, they can lose their cushioning properties, resulting in pain and discomfort.
  4. Sciatica: Irritation of the sciatic nerve, often caused by compression from a herniated disc or bone spur, can lead to sharp, shooting pain radiating down the leg.
  5. Spondylolisthesis: This condition occurs when a vertebra slips out of place and onto the vertebra below it, causing pain and nerve compression.

What are the benefits of epidural injections?

  1. Pain Relief: Epidural injections can provide significant pain relief, allowing individuals to resume daily activities and participate in physical therapy more effectively.
  2. Non-Surgical Approach: For many patients, epidural injections offer a non-surgical alternative to managing spinal pain, potentially avoiding the risks and recovery time associated with surgery.
  3. Diagnostic Tool: In addition to providing relief, epidural injections can serve as a diagnostic tool by helping physicians pinpoint the exact source of the pain. If the injection alleviates the pain, it indicates that the specific area targeted was the source of discomfort.
  4. Improved Functionality: By reducing pain and inflammation, epidural injections can enhance mobility and functionality, enabling individuals to engage in activities they may have previously avoided due to discomfort.

Are there negative effects of epidurals?

While epidural injections can be highly effective, it's essential to consider potential risks and limitations:

  1. Sometimes Temporary Relief: The duration of pain relief provided by epidural injections varies from person to person. While some individuals experience long-lasting relief, others may only experience temporary benefits.
  2. Side Effects: Common side effects of epidural injections include temporary increases in pain, localized discomfort at the injection site, and potential allergic reactions to the medications administered. However infection is not common, there will be temporary soreness at the injection sight.
  3. Rare Complications: Although rare, complications such as infection, nerve damage, or dural puncture (puncturing the membrane surrounding the spinal cord) can occur.
  4. Not a Cure: It's important to note that epidural injections typically provide symptomatic relief rather than addressing the underlying cause of the spinal condition. As such, they are often part of a comprehensive treatment plan that may include physical therapy, medication, and lifestyle modifications.

Epidural injections represent a valuable tool amongst the variety of treatments our pain management specialists offer at Garden State Pain and Orthopedics. By targeting inflammation and providing localized pain relief, these injections can significantly improve quality of life for many patients. If you are experiencing back pain and would like to consult one of our doctors, you can call 973-777-5444 or schedule by selecting “Book Now” at the top of the page.