A Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection Can Ease Chronic Pain
For many, neck and shoulder pain are a debilitating form of chronic pain, resulting in the inability to enjoy everyday activities of daily life. Some of the most typical causes of chronic pain include a pinched nerve, herniated disc, or poor posture; sometimes it’s the result of an accident.
While back, neck and shoulder pain may come and go, you have chronic pain if it’s persistent and lasts more than a couple of months. Most people with chronic pain have tried several different methods of pain management with little relief. If you struggle with ongoing lower back, neck, or shoulder pain due to the above conditions, you may be a candidate for lumbar epidural steroid injections. These injections are an excellent form of chronic back and neck pain relief.
What to Expect with a Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection
When you visit a doctor for chronic neck and shoulder pain, he or she should discuss each unique symptom to determine the source of the pain. If you’re a good candidate for the procedure, your pain management physician will prepare a steroid mixed with a saline solution for injection into the epidural area. This area is home to the dural sac at the end of your spine. It’s filled with small blood vessels and fat and surrounded by cerebral spinal fluid and the spinal cord.
After isolating the source of your back and neck pain, your doctor will clean and numb the area to receive the injection. He or she uses a live X-ray to guide the needle and inject the steroid and saline solution into the appropriate spot. Your doctor will then monitor you for approximately 15 minutes after the procedure to ensure that you don’t experience complications. The entire process takes between 15 and 30 minutes, and you could experience significant pain relief within one week.
Risks Associated with Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections
While risks are minimal, some do exist. Your physician should discuss each potential risk and side effect during your first visit to ensure that these injections are the best option for you. The following are the most common risks associated with this procedure:
• Dural sac puncture
• Nerve damage
• Less common side effects include:
• Facial flushing
• Headaches resolving within 24 hours
• Temporary insomnia
Learn More about Alternative Pain Management
Long-term neck and shoulder pain can have a significant impact on your quality of life. Fortunately, pain relief from lumbar epidural steroid injections can help you lead a more comfortable life, and relief can last up to one year before needing to repeat the procedure. If your current doctor doesn’t offer the lumbar epidural steroid injection, you may need to search for a pain relief clinic that primarily provides drug-free treatments.