Spine Archive: Epidural Spine Injections

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Epidural Injections

Epidural injections to the spine are normally temporary (lasting anywhere from 7 to 365 days). Although these injections are typical in treating low back pain, they can also be instrumental in treating pain associated with the cervical region of the spine (neck) and even in the thoracic region too (middle spine).

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Epidural Spine Injections

There are non-surgical solutions for the management of low back pain and sciatica (pressure on sciatic nerves). Among these treatment solutions are epidural steroid injections. In most cases, these injections are performed in conjunction with a rehabilitation program. However, these are sometimes administered on their own with positive results.

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Epidural Spine Injections

Epidural steroid injections and selective nerve root injections have received considerable attention for the treatment of lumbar disk herniation. It was reported in a recent study that at 23-month follow-up, more than 50% of patients treated with selective nerve root injections for lumbar radiculopathy avoided surgery. Injection therapy with corticosteroid was more effective than injections with local anesthetic alone.¹

¹Garfin MD, Steven. Orthopaedic Knowledge Update : Spine. Rosemont: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 1997.

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Lumbar Disk Herniation Management

Because most patients improve clinically within a 6-week period after the onset of back pain and radiculopathy, nonsurgical modalities are the initial mainstays of treatment. These include activity modification, physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and epidural steroid injections. Although none of these treatments have been shown to alter the natural history of a lumbar disk herniation, they provide relief while the radicular symptoms can dissipate naturally. Most surgeons advocate for non-surgical treatment of at least 6 weeks before considering other more invasive measures.

Epidural steroid injections are a low-risk alternative to surgical treatment of lumbar disk herniation. A randomized controlled trial demonstrated that 50% of patients who received an epidural steroid injection to treat a lumbar disk herniation avoided surgical intervention. ¹

¹Garfin MD, Steven. Orthopaedic Knowledge Update : Spine. Rosemont: American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, 1997.