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How Epidural Steroid Injections Alleviate Back and Neck Pain

Jul 06, 2022

How Epidural Steroid Injections Alleviate Back and Neck Pain

An epidural steroid injection can’t fix a ruptured disc or other structural problem in the spine. It can, however, soothe irritated nerves. Our team discusses when your spine specialist might recommend an epidural steroid injection and how it works.

The experts at Spine Center Atlanta deliver state-of-the-art orthopedic care to Georgia residents from offices in Atlanta, Savannah, Conyers, Forest Park, Augusta, Macon, and Decatur. Read what they say about epidural steroid injections and how they work for back and neck pain.

What is an epidural steroid injection?

An epidural steroid injection is an in-office procedure that can relieve back or neck pain by reducing inflammation in the epidural space surrounding the nerves running through your spinal cord.

The steroid is delivered into the spinal space under advanced X-ray imaging to ensure accuracy. To offer temporary pain relief as the steroid becomes effective, which can take one to two days, your Spine Center Atlanta specialist may combine an anesthetic with the injection. 

A topical anesthetic applied to the injection site prevents discomfort during the procedure, which takes just a few minutes.

Why would I need an epidural steroid injection?

An epidural steroid injection can temporarily relieve pain caused by spinal nerve root inflammation and irritation related to:

  • Herniated or bulging disc
  • Narrowing (stenosis) of the spinal canal
  • Degenerative disc disease
  • Vertebral bone spurs
  • Spinal degeneration (spondylolysis)
  • Sciatica
  • Symptomatic scoliosis

These conditions can compress or “pinch” nerves as they exit the spinal canal, causing significant back or neck pain. Depending on the irritated nerve’s location, you may also develop muscle weakness, sharp shooting pain in the arms or legs, and other chronic symptoms that affect mobility.

Can an epidural steroid injection cure back or neck pain?

An epidural steroid injection can relieve nerve inflammation causing your pain for up to three months. But it cannot correct bone spurs, bulging discs, or other underlying issues responsible for the compressed nerve.

However, you may benefit from an injection if your pain interferes with your ability to participate in our physical therapy and rehab program or other non-surgical treatments, many of which can provide long-term relief from conditions causing nerve compression.

Other injection-based therapies we offer at Spine Center Atlanta include:

  • Cervical radiofrequency neurotomy
  • Facet joint injections
  • Medial branch nerve blocks
  • Radiofrequency ablation
  • Sacroiliac (SI) joint injections
  • Stellate ganglion blocks
  • Bursa injections

Our team also specializes in regenerative medicine treatments such as platelet-rich plasma (PRP) injections and stem cell therapy. 

What if I need surgery?

If conservative treatment fails to adequately relieve your back or neck symptoms, your Spine Center Atlanta specialist may recommend minimally invasive back surgery or cervical (neck) surgery.

These same-day procedures, performed at our fully accredited outpatient surgical facility, require smaller incisions than traditional or “open” surgery. This significantly reduces tissue trauma, resulting in:

  • Decreased blood loss
  • Less postoperative pain
  • Lower risk of infection
  • Minimal scarring
  • Faster healing
  • Quicker recovery

Schedule an evaluation at Spine Center Atlanta today for outstanding personalized care designed to relieve your pain, restore mobility, and improve your quality of life. Call the nearest office or request an appointment using our secure online service.