Where chronic back pain is experienced, spinal injections ie Caudal epidural nerve root blocks facet joint injections radiofrequency denervation, may be used to diagnose the cause of the pain as well as treat it.
If an injection provides pain relief it is likely that the particular area is the source of the problem but injections also provide temporary relief from pain.
A local anaesthetic called lidocaine is injected into a specific area of the spine, the effects of which wear off within two hours, or Bupivicaine may be used as is lasts longer, providing the patient more relief from pain, Cortisone is a strong anti-inflammatory steroid medication which is often injected as well as a local anaesthetic in order to reduce inflammation in the affected areas.
It may not begin working for several days following the injection but its effects can last for months.
Patients with disc prolapse are offered early injection treatments to eradicate sciatica and back pain. All spinal injections are performed under sedation and fluoroscopy to ensure accuracy and minimal discomfort. Patients failing to respond to injections may undergo keyhole surgery to remove the prolapsed disc
Benefits of a spinal injection:
-Temporary or prolonged pain alleviation.
-Temporary or prolonged reduction of inflammation in the region of the spine that causes pain.
-Enhanced ability to perform daily life activities without the previous restrictions caused by pain.
-It can help to confirm the exact site that generated pain. This is, in general, a problem in those patients who have more than one possible cause of pain.
-It could reduce the need for invasive procedures.
-Allows the body mechanisms time to heal the underlying condition
-Allows the ability to undertake physical therapy to enhance healing of the underlying problem.
An spinal injection is usually highly effective in more recent conditions and has a lower success rate when the problem is longstanding. In a few cases, an epidural injection may offer little or no alleviation of pain.
Each patient is different; however, there are times when the injection can be repeated after a few weeks or months to receive the utmost benefit from the medication. If epidural injections do not help to relieve pain, we will probably recommend another therapy.
Specialist in Minimally Invasive Spinal Surgery and Medical Director of The Spine Unit
Specialist in Spinal Surgery and previously worked as a consultant in Norway
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