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Am I a Good Candidate for Epidural Steroid Injections?

Am I a Good Candidate for Epidural Steroid Injections?

Epidural steroid injections (ESIs) aren’t the first line of treatment for chronic back pain. However, if conservative treatments and physical therapy have failed to address your pain, it might be time to consider your candidacy for this minimally invasive treatment. 

At The Spine and Sports Center in Sugarland and Houston, Texas, Dr. Benoy Benny and our team can accurately diagnose the cause of your back pain and determine if epidural steroid injections could help.

Understanding epidural steroid injections

Epidural steroid injections (ESIs) are cortisone steroid-based medications designed to be injected into the epidural space. 

This area is located just outside your spinal canal, where the roots of your nerves connect to your spinal cord. Because the epidural space links the nerves of your legs to your spine, ESIs are especially effective at treating lower back pain and sciatica

It’s important to understand that cortisone shots such as ESIs can’t treat the source of your back pain. They can only reduce your symptoms and improve your quality of life. Cortisone shots also have the potential to stop working over time, or not work in the first place. This is why doctors insist on diagnostics and conservative measures before relying on steroid injections. 

What makes a good candidate

Epidural spinal injections shouldn’t be your or your doctor’s first option. Instead, they should serve as pain relief in a last-resort scenario, or while you’re waiting to receive back surgery. 

ESIs are also designed to alleviate inflammation of the spinal nerves specifically, rather than the spinal joints themselves. This is where diagnostics become important. At The Spine and Sports Center, Dr. Benny uses X-rays and numbing injections to determine exactly where your pain is originating. 

Inflamed nerves are most often caused by: 

Once Dr. Benny is certain that your chronic back pain is attributed to nerve damage, you can move forward with the epidural. 

What to expect

For an ESI to work, it needs to be injected directly into the area surrounding your affected nerve(s). 

Before the injection, Dr. Benny takes the time to thoroughly review your X-rays and other diagnostics to determine the precise location of your inflammation. 

The ESI procedure itself is rather brief. Dr. Benny prepares the injection, reconfirms your injection site, and applies a local anesthetic for your comfort. ESIs also usually contain other medications like Novocaine® to reduce pain while your body takes in the injection. 

The steroids should begin working within a few days, resulting in pain relief and increased mobility. However, the efficacy of these injections varies from person to person, and you might require a second injection to feel the full effects of your ESI. 

Feel like you’re running out of solutions for your back pain? Learn more about epidural steroid injections by consulting with Dr. Benny and his team. To schedule an appointment, call the location closest to you or book online today. 

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