More than 90% of people with back or neck pain find relief through non-operative treatment. Some patients will benefit from physical therapy or treatment at a pain management center while others may need an injection or series of injections to help decrease their pain.
How do I know if a spinal injection is right for me?
This is a difficult question to answer because not all patients are candidates for spinal injections. Some conditions are better treated with surgery while other conditions are more appropriately treated with conservative treatment including spinal injections.
Depending on the type and severity of your back or neck pain, your physician may recommend a spinal injection. The type of injection you receive is based on your specific symptoms and the physical exam performed by your physician.
What is an epidural steroid injection & how can it help my back pain?
A common injection that we perform is the epidural steroid injection. This type of injection is used to relieve radiating pain down the arm or leg. The medicine used in the injection is a mixture of long-acting anti-inflammatory steroid and numbing medication. During the injection, the physician will position you on the table and then perform the injection with the help of x-ray guidance to ensure the injection is given in the correct place.
Most patients will notice a decrease in pain within 2-3 days, but some may take 1-2 weeks to notice the benefit of the injection. Depending on your spine condition, your physician may recommend a series of epidural steroid injections. Your physician will discuss the treatment plan with you.
Epidural steroid injections are commonly administered without problems, but there is always a slight risk whenever you have an invasive treatment.
Recently, a serious concern has been raised in the national medical community regarding the use of contaminated steroids causing an infection of the spine called spinal meningitis. Fortunately, at Emory Spine Center we have always carefully selected the pharmacies we use to supply all of our medications, including the steroids used for injections. Only those suppliers with best quality control have been chosen. Clearly, the end result has been beneficial as none of our patients received contaminated steroids.
It is important to remember that serious complications like the one discussed above are extremely rare. Please visit our website to learn about the other spinal injections we perform.
About Dr. Jose Garcia-Corrada
Dr. Garcia-Corrada is an Assistant Professor in the departments of Orthopaedics and Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation at Emory University School of Medicine. He specializes in non-operative spine care and focuses on helping patients achieve their best functional level. Dr. Garcia started practicing at Emory in 2001.