When to Consider Epidural Injections for Your Chronic Back Pain

Chronic Back Pain, MRI, Dr. Mervet Saleh, Ohio Institute for Comprehensive Pain Management, Inc

Chronic back pain can severely impact your quality of life. From playing with your children to enjoying vacations or even just working, dealing with chronic back pain makes even the most mundane tasks much more difficult. Unfortunately, around 80% of Americans will deal with some sort of back pain during their lifetime, and many of those cases end up becoming chronic.

If you’re finding your quality of life suffering due to chronic back pain, our triple board-certified pain management expert can help you. Dr. Mervet Saleh and her team work with you to create a customized treatment plan to ease your pain and improve your quality of life.

What is causing my back pain?

Although “back pain” is an incredibly common complaint, the actual cause of the pain varies from person to person. Pain intensity (dull, throbbing or sharp, stabbing) and location (upper or lower spine) may also vary depending on the actual cause. Back pain may be temporary, such as in the case of a pulled muscle, or permanent after traumatic injury, such as a stroke. Some of the most common causes of back pain include:

Your risk of back pain increases with age and also depends on your lifestyle — for instance, office workers who spend too much time sitting are more likely to injure themselves as the muscles are underworked.

How do you diagnose my back pain?

During your initial consultation, Dr. Saleh discusses your pain and performs a comprehensive exam and diagnostic imaging. You go over your symptoms, lifestyle, habits, and personal and family medical history. Once that’s complete, you’re guided through a series of movements to determine the location of your pain and exactly how it’s inhibiting your movement and quality of life. In some cases, Dr. Saleh may order MRI tests, X-rays, or nerve studies if the cause can’t be immediately determined.

Can epidural steroid injections treat my pain?

Although not all causes of back pain can be treated with epidural steroid injections, several common conditions that include nerve irritation can be treated with an ESI:

 

 

Along with a number of other injuries and conditions, epidural spinal injections may treat or reduce inflammation, reducing pain temporarily or permanently.

How do epidural injections help ease my pain?

During your ESI, Dr. Saleh and her team first locate the injury using a contrast dye or air injected into the spinal column. Once it’s been located, the steroid is injected. Afterward, you rest in our office for about 15-30 minutes while we monitor you for immediate pain relief or potential complications.

Around 50% of ESI patients feel better after just one treatment, at least temporarily. Depending on your condition and specific pain levels, you may need to come back for a second or third injection. The steroids injected at the injury site inhibit the inflammatory response caused by pain either temporarily or permanently.

Am I a candidate for epidural steroid injections?

Dr. Saleh discusses your specific condition and medical history to determine if you’re a candidate for ESI treatment. If you’re pregnant, have a bleeding problem or take blood thinners, or have an infection of some sort, you likely won’t be given an epidural steroid injection. We also need to rule out the possibility of spinal tumors via MRI scan before the procedure.

If you’re experiencing chronic back pain and would like to discuss the option of epidural steroid injections, schedule a consultation with us today. Call the office or use the convenient online booking tool.

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