Finding ways to deal with chronic pain has become easier, thanks to Houston epidural injections, which provide relief from pain for up to months. Pain that persists for extended periods can make you less productive by getting in the way of your day-to-day activities. This may result from medical conditions, including spinal stenosis, herniated discs, sciatica, and degenerative disc disease. In most cases, over-the-counter medications such as ibuprofen may not effectively treat chronic pain as they should not be taken for a long time. However, other treatment options like epidural steroid injections can help relieve pain and improve your quality of life.
What is an epidural injection?
This minimally invasive procedure involves using corticosteroids such as methylprednisolone, triamcinolone, and dexamethasone to offer relief from chronic pain. It may also include a combination with other agents such as local anesthesia, including lidocaine and bupivacaine. An epidural steroid injection is precisely guided into the space between the vertebra and the protective dura sac around the spinal nerves (epidural space). When delivered effectively, epidural injections minimize inflammation by eliminating the substances responsible for swelling.
How do you prepare for an epidural injection?
An initial consultation with your doctor should be the first step for anyone considering an epidural injection. Here, you may need to write down a list of your current medications and those you have taken in the recent past. These may include antibiotics and blood-thinning drugs such as aspirin and dietary supplements. Your doctor may recommend that you stop using these medications to reduce complications during the procedure, such as bleeding. You can also ask your doctor all the questions you may have about the procedure to clear any uncertainties. Your doctor may also discuss with you the risks involves that include:
- Water retention
- Sleeping problems
- Nerve damage
A step-to-step process for epidural injections
This procedure is usually scheduled for the morning hours. You may need to sign consent forms before proceeding with treatment. You will change from your regular clothes to a hospital gown for better access to the injection site during the procedure. If feelings of anxiety overtake you, your specialist may recommend sedation to keep you calm during treatment.
Using betadine, the doctor cleans your skin’s surface and then marks it before locating the proper vertebral needle level using a fluoroscopic x-ray.
A local anesthetic is used before treatment to numb the treatment area and make you comfortable during the procedure. Patients remain conscious so that they can communicate with the doctor.
Fluoroscopy provides your doctor with live images as he guides the needle into the epidural space. Most patients report a feeling of pressure rather than pain during the process. After ensuring the needle is correctly positioned, the doctor administers the corticosteroid medications or local anesthesia mixture. Some types of epidural steroid injections include using a contrast dye to check the spread of the administered contents. The doctor monitors you for the next 30 minutes in a recovery room, and you may need to avoid strenuous activities after treatment.
If you have chronic back pain due to a herniated disc, schedule an appointment with your doctor at Houston Pain Specialists for treatment to improve your quality of life.