Treat Sciatica Pain with Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections
Are you experiencing lower back pain but don’t know what’s causing it? Sometimes, rest can do the trick or pain medicine can temporarily provide relief, but unfortunately, the pain keeps coming back and is worsening.
If you feel pain, tingling, weakness or numbness in your back towards the lower extremities, it could be a possible case of a pinched nerve or sciatica. In this situation, a doctor’s assessment is needed to determine the root cause of the pain to determine the proper treatment.
Treatments can range from physical therapy to pain medications and even surgery. But more advanced techniques, like an epidural steroid injection, is becoming popular because it is less invasive yet more effective to treat sciatica.
What is Sciatica?
Sciatica is not only uncomfortable but can be debilitating. If not properly treated, it can affect your daily life. Tasks as simple as just sitting or walking can be painful and pain may flare up to cause further immobility.
A pinched nerve in the lower back is the common cause of sciatica pain. The sciatic nerve is the largest nerve in the body, extending from the lower back down to the back of each leg. When the nerve is compressed or irritated in the lower back by surrounding tissues, such as discs or bones, sciatica will manifest. This causes not only pain but also tingling and numbness of your lower back down to your hips, buttocks and legs.
Causes of Sciatica Pain
You may think that the pain you feel in your lower back is temporary and you can disregard it. But know that sciatica pain can be caused by a herniated lumbar disc and that’s a serious concern for you. Your discs which are located in between the bones of your spine can wear down and crack, which causes them to protrude or herniate. When this happens, it will result in pinched nerves.
The narrowing of the spinal canal or spinal stenosis can also cause sciatica because it will compress and put pressure on all the nerves coming out of your back which go down your legs. Other causes include degenerative discs disease and abnormal bone spurs on the vertebrae.
So don’t think for a second that your lower back pain will just fade away. It would be best to have it checked by your doctor, especially when the pain is aggravating and is keeping you from doing your normal tasks.
Epidural Steroid Injection for Chronic Lumbar and Sciatica Pain
While sciatica pain can resolve on its own with proper rest and care or with pain medication, severe or chronic ones may need a more invasive approach like surgery.
But for most, surgery can be bothersome, especially when it concerns the nerves of the spine. So many turn to lumbar epidural steroid injections (ESIs) as a non-surgical option to treat sciatica pain in the lower back and legs.
The purpose of the injection is to provide relief from sciatica pain. However, its pain relief tends to be temporary. For some, it lasts for just a week, while for the others, it brings them year-long free from pain. Results vary depending on the cause and severity of the sciatica pain.
But one thing is for sure, epidural steroid injections alleviate pain whether for the short or long term.
It’s definitely worth the try. For patients who experience an acute episode of back or leg pain, epidurals are very beneficial. For those undergoing rehabilitation, it can provide sufficient pain relief to move forward with this type of therapy.
How Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection Works
Epidural steroids are directly injected into the lumbar area where the pain originates. It is inserted into the epidural space in the spine. A local anesthetic and a saline solution can also be used to tackle the inflammation that is usually causing the pain.
A usual epidural concoction is composed of steroid (cortisone), a local anesthetic (lidocaine or bupivacaine) and a saline solution. The steroid is basically the anti-inflammatory agent that reduces the sciatica pain.
Lumbar epidural steroid injection is an outpatient procedure that will only take 15-30 minutes to administer. After the injection, the patient will be observed briefly, and if all is well, they will be sent home following the doctor’s advice for home care.
The procedure will take place with the use of fluoroscopy (X-ray) to guide the needle’s insertion path. The injection will then be inserted into the epidural space. X-rays are important to ensure that the medication is administered directly to the treatment area.
Epidural Steroid Injection in Charlotte
You don’t have to bear or prolong the pain that you feel in your lower back. It would be best to consult your doctor even at the onset of pain. Don’t wait for the pain to worsen or affect your daily activities. If it is sciatica pain or any pain that is affecting your lower back and extremities, then an epidural steroid injection is an effective treatment for you.
If you are residing or visiting Charlotte and its surrounding areas, visit Advanced Sports & Spine to have your condition assessed and to determine if a lumbar epidural steroid injection is the right treatment for you. Book your appointment today!