When you have sciatica and a pinched nerve, or suffer from spinal stenosis, an epidural steroid injection may help substantially with your pain. First of all it is important to understand exactly why epidural steroid injections are performed.
Predominantly, epidural steroid injections are performed to alleviate pain from a pinched nerve. When a nerve root is pinched, it becomes inflamed and generates pain along its distribution. That may be down the side of the thigh, or into the calf and foot.
Another indication for an epidural steroid injection may be if a person is having referred pain into the buttock area or hip region from either degenerative disc disease with a torn disc, or from spinal stenosis. An epidural injection is performed as an outpatient, and the injection takes about 20 minutes. Usually, IV sedation is not necessary as the person can receive numbing medicine injected underneath the skin and through the soft tissues providing satisfactory pain relief.
However, if a person has anxiety of claustrophobia, then IV sedation can be administered or an oral sedation pill to be taken 30 minutes prior to the procedure such as Valium.
With modern pain management, pain doctors use fluoroscopy to help with injection accuracy, which is a real time form of x-ray. Without fluoroscopy, research studies showed that about 30% of the time, the doctor will miss the correct spot for the injection.
There are three different kinds of epidural steroid injections, and the pain management doctor will pick the type that works best for the anatomy of the pinched nerve along with the injection that the doctor feels most comfortable performing.
When the injection is performed, the numbing medicine works within about a minute, and it may take the steroid a few days to actually begin working for pain relief. Steroid is a hefty anti-inflammatory and bathes the nerve roots with soothing anti-inflammation and can knock out the pain.
Once the numbing medicine wears off which is usually between six and 12 hours, a person’s pain may return for a bit. And then once the steroid begins working the pain will hopefully will be alleviated for a period of weeks to months. The timeframe for pain relief is extremely variable, and often times a full series of three injections is necessary to provide the best pain relief possible.
So if the pain relief wears off by the next day, do not fret considerably as it may just be a lag before the steroid starts to work properly. If a few months go by and the pain returns, the epidural steroid injections may be repeated. Pain doctors do not like to perform them too often as too much steroid injected can cause problems with blood sugars and one’s adrenal glands.
Most studies have shown epidural steroid injection to be at least 75% effective for spinal stenosis and relieving sciatica from disc herniations. They may prevent the need for risky spine surgery.
If you are experiencing sciatica pain or pain that radiates into your buttock and hip, an epidural steroid injection may help you substantially. Arizona Pain Specialists has double board certified pain management doctors in Arizona who have performed thousands of successful epidural steroid injections.
Arizona Pain has multiple locations around the Phoenix and Scottsdale metropolitan area serving Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Tempe, Ahwatukee, Surprise, Glendale, Avondale, Goodyear, Peoria and more.
Call 602-507-6550 for scheduling and more information the best Arizona pain center!