Back Pain and Steroid Injections
Effect of Steroid Injections on Back Pain
Steroid Injections for back pain treatment are typically Cortisone injections. Cortisone is a steroid that is produced naturally in your body. It is released from the adrenal gland when your body is under stress. Cortisone is produced synthetically and is used for treating various disorders. Cortisone suppresses the normal immune response, thereby reducing pain and inflammation.
Giving epidural steroid may help people who suffer from back pain which is caused primarily by inflammation in the spinal nerves.
How to Use Steroid Injections
Epidural steroid injections are given by physicians. You will be asked to lie flat, face down, on an x-ray table. The x-ray will be used to see the location of the tip of the needle, your doctor will guide the needle to the area adjacent to the inflamed spinal nerves. The administration of steroid injection lasts about 15 minutes, some people may require light sedation.
Epidural steroid are given weekly, usually up for 3 consecutive weeks. With this dosing schedule, many patients experience improvement of symptoms within a few weeks. This often helps in controlling inflammation may provide long-lasting pain relief for treating back pain.
Side Effects and Warnings
Epidural steroid injections are usually well tolerated. The following may occur with cortisone injection use:
- Dural Tears: may result from piercing the sac around the spinal nerves with the needle. This usually causes headache
- Infection: the incidence for this side effect is very low, it is usually avoided by using a sterile technique.
- Bleeding: also uncommon, this can avoided by not giving the medication to patients with bleeding disorders or those on blood thinning medication.
- Increased Blood Sugar: taking any steroid medication cause this side effect. If you have diabetes, you will be advised to monitor your blood sugar well after you receive an epidural steroid.