When a patient complains of persistent, distracting back pain, one non-surgical treatment option that may be considered is the injection of a corticosteroid epidural into the area of pain. Corticosteroids are very strong, slow-dispersing anti-inflammatory medications that can temporarily reduce nerve pain related to a variety of issues in the back area. Occasionally, the corticosteroid will be injected in tandem with a narcotic to increase the strength of the pain-relief. Although this is considered a short-term solution, the pain relief is generally longer lasting than treatments like ice or heat therapy.

Back injections may be recommended to treat pain for thoracic or lumbar spinal conditions such as:

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  • ral thoracic or lumbar disc degeneration
  • Herniated (or “ruptured”) thoracic or lumbar discs
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Bone spurs
  • Pinched or inflamed nerves

While some patients may feel initially discomforted by the idea of having something injected into their back, epidural and narcotic injections are quite common and perfectly safe. In addition to providing much needed relief from pain and other symptoms, the injections can help confirm the exact source of the pain. If the pain is relieved by an injection in a particular location, it is clear that the recipient nerve root is the culprit.

Epidural back injections should not be considered a cure for thoracic or lumbar spinal pain, and should not be overused due to potential risks associated with overexposure to corticosteroid medications. Back injections are, however, a great treatment option to pair with long-term solutions like physical therapy and strengthening exercise.

If you are experiencing frustrating back pain from one of the listed conditions (or a similar condition) and would like to discuss the possibility of receiving back injections to alleviate your symptoms, contact our clinic to speak with Dr. Neece and his expert staff about whether this treatment is a good choice for you.