Low back pain affects a whopping 80% of the population in the United States at some point in their lives. While many people are able to move on with their lives after simple rest, some are left with nagging chronic pain in their lower backs that radiates down their legs. If you find yourself in this unfortunate group, take heart, there are solutions that will provide you with much-needed relief.
Here at Vulcan Pain Management, our team is dedicated to one goal: Finding solutions for our clients in Birmingham and Montgomery, Alabama, who are in pain. Among our many therapies and treatments for managing pain, we offer epidural steroid injections, which have restored pain-free movement to many of our patients.
If you’d like to explore how epidural steroid injections provide relief for chronic back and leg pain, read on.
A look back
Before we get into who is a good candidate for epidural steroid injections and how they work, let’s quickly review the anatomy of your spine. Your back is made up of 33 vertebrae that run from your head to your pelvis. Your low back is comprised of five large vertebrae, called the lumbar spine, which are responsible for a great deal in terms of support and mobility for your entire body. In addition to providing the foundation for your musculoskeletal system, your spine also provides passage for your nervous system through your spinal canal.
Surrounding and protecting this very important passageway is your dural sac, which houses your spinal cord, nerve roots, and cerebrospinal fluid. Outside of this sac is an area called the epidural space, which contains fat and blood vessels.
Relieving the pain
Now that we’ve reviewed the anatomy, it paints a clearer picture of how an epidural steroid injection works. When we administer an epidural injection, which contains steroids, saline, and lidocaine, we deliver it into the epidural space outside your spinal cord to quiet the nerves and reduce inflammation.
The lidocaine goes to work very quickly and often provides immediate relief from your pain. The steroids and saline also work quickly to reduce inflammation and flush out the substances responsible for the inflammatory response
Together, the ingredients in our epidural steroid injections can provide temporary relief from your chronic back and leg pain, allowing us valuable time to to address the underlying cause of your pain.
When it comes to how long these injections work, every patient is different. Some experience short-term relief for a few weeks while others experience relief that lasts for months.
The procedure itself takes only minutes, and we use X-ray guidance to ensure precision and accuracy. Once we’re done, you’re free to return home.
Am I a candidate?
The patients that benefit the most from epidural steroid injections are those who suffer from treatment-resistant:
- Herniated or ruptured disc
- Spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
There are other conditions that can irritate the nerve roots in your low back and send pain down your leg, but these are the most common. The bottom line is that if you have stubborn pain in your low back and/or leg that’s having a serious impact on your quality of life, talk to us about how these injections may help.
Please give us a call to explore your options with epidural steroid injections or use the online scheduling tool on this website to set up an appointment.