Interventional Pain Management & Neurosurgeon located in Fort Smith, AR
Epidural injections are a minimally invasive treatment that can relieve persistent back and neck pain. If your back pain is making life a misery, board-certified neurosurgeon Tim Maryanov, MD, and his team at Fort Neuro in Fort Smith, Arkansas, can help. They provide a range of cervical (neck) and lumbar (lower back) epidural injections that can ease pain and reduce inflammation, sometimes for several months or longer. Call Fort Neuro today to schedule a consultation or use the online booking tool to make an appointment.
What are epidural injections?
Epidural injections are an interventional treatment for chronic pain that isn't improving after three months of noninvasive therapies. The injections go into the epidural space, which is a gap next to the dura. The dura is a protective layer of tissue that surrounds your spinal cord.
Epidural injections contain a corticosteroid, a powerful anti-inflammatory medicine. Many epidural injections also contain a local anesthetic to bring fast pain relief. The local anesthetic wears off quickly, but the steroid medication provides anti-inflammatory effects for several months, and sometimes longer.
The Fort Neuro team offer several types of epidural injections, including:
Lumbar transforaminal epidural steroid injection
Lumbar means lower back, so this type of epidural injection treats pain in the low back, as well as the leg, hip, and buttock. The Fort Neuro team injects the medicine into the side of your spine where the nerves come out.
Cervical interlaminar epidural steroid injection
Cervical refers to the neck, so this type of epidural injection treats the upper back, neck, shoulder, and arm pain. The Fort Neuro team injects the medicine into the back of your spine.
Epidural injections are outpatient procedures, so you won't need to stay in the hospital overnight.
What happens when I have an epidural injection?
First, your provider at Fort Neuro numbs your skin using a local anesthetic. They then insert a slender needle into your epidural space. To guide them, the team uses fluoroscopy technology — a kind of moving X-ray.
Sometimes they might use an injection of dye to make sure the needle is in the right place. Once it's in position, your provider injects the medicine. The team monitors you for 30 minutes to make sure all is well.
When you leave, you take a diary to record the changes you experience in your pain. You should find that your back feels numb, and your pain significantly eases for a short time after your epidural injection.
How long do the benefits of epidural injections last?
Once the local anesthetic in your epidural injection wears off, your pain may come back and could even be a little worse, but only for a few days. After 2-3 days (or in some cases up to a week), the steroid medication starts to work.
The benefits of epidural injections could last for weeks or even months, depending on the severity of your pain and its cause. Some patients enjoy long-term pain relief following an epidural injection, while others require a course of injections.
Find out if epidural injections could relieve your back pain by calling Fort Neuro today or by booking an appointment online.