Pain Management

February 18, 2017

Your Journey to Chronic Back Pain Relief Starts with Steroid Injections


Having chronic back pain can affect all parts of your life, but steroid injections might offer the relief that other treatments cannot.

When you have persistent back pain from wear and tear, an underlying medical condition or an injury, you can end up having trouble performing basic movements and going about your usual activities. This ongoing pain can have an impact on your ability to work, play sports and even drive or walk around comfortably. When other forms of treatment are ineffective, steroid injections might offer chronic back pain relief.

What Are Steroid Injections?
Steroid injections are a method of chronic pain management for back pain that involves administering anti-inflammatory medicine into the nerve roots in your spine. These injections deliver medicine right to the affected area, which helps provide pain relief. When steroids are injected in the nerve roots, they help reduce inflammation. This is an outpatient procedure that involves the use of a local anesthetic to numb the area. You might experience soreness in the injection site, but this should only be temporary.

What Are the Benefits of These Injections?
This form of treatment can be more effective for relieving back pain than other treatments, such as oral steroids or pain medications. Medications taken orally take time to reach the affected area and typically have a lower impact. They can also cause unpleasant side effects. Steroid injections usually provide relief in a shorter amount of time, although these effects are temporary. In general, the effects last for several weeks or months.

Why Are Injections Given?
Steroid injections can be used when chronic back pain does not respond to other treatment methods and when it is severe enough to interfere with daily tasks and activities. Some of the conditions that can be treated with these injections include the following:

  • Herniated lumbar disc: This occurs when the inner part of a spinal disc pushes the disc into the spinal canal.
  • Spinal stenosis: This occurs when the spinal canal becomes too narrow and puts pressure on spinal nerves.
  • Degenerative disc disease: This condition, which results from wear and tear on spinal discs, increases pressure on lower back nerves.
  • Compression fracture: Fractures in one or more vertebrae due to compression can cause chronic back pain.
  • Synovial cysts: These cysts can grow in areas where they put pressure on spinal nerves.

Are These Injections Safe?
Steroid injections are typically considered safe for those with chronic back pain, but there are a few exceptions. Those who are pregnant, have bleeding problems, spinal tumors, or those with an infection should discuss the safety of these injections with their doctor.

These injections are generally performed without complications, although there are some risks that you should be aware of. These include allergic reactions to steroids, damage to the nerve roots, spinal infections, bleeding in the spine, nausea, headaches and dizziness. Keep in mind that serious complications are rare, and doctors take steps to minimize these risks. Steroid injections are usually limited to two or three each year due to an increased risk of developing weak muscles or bones in the spine.

Other Forms of Treatment
Other types of chronic pain management can also provide relief for back pain. If you are unsure how to proceed and you are experiencing back pain, ask your doctor about the different treatments available to you: these forms of treatment include radio frequency rhizotomy and facet injections, among others.

Arkansas Surgical Hospital offers spinal surgery, interventional pain management, and other types of chronic back pain treatments in Arkansas. If you need help with your back pain, contact Arkansas Surgical Hospital today at (877) 918-7020 so that our doctors can help find a solution tailored to you.

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