Understanding Epidural Steroid Injections

Do you suffer from chronic back pain despite medication and physical therapy? You may be a candidate for injection therapy. Epidural steroid injections can be an excellent solution to relieve back pain, especially when irritated or inflamed nerves are involved.

The Role of Inflammation

Why does a steroid injection work for chronic back pain? Understanding inflammation’s role in your spinal pain can help you understand why this is an effective treatment. Our bodies have a natural defense system to fight off bacteria, viruses and injuries. When a part of your body is compromised or not working properly, your immune system kicks into gear. The first response is inflammation as your body attempts to work in overdrive to repair itself. Unfortunately, if this inflammation stays around too long, it can lead to discomfort and pain, which is often the case with the back.

Cortisone can have the opposing effect on inflammation. Not only is cortisone the key ingredient in your steroid injection, it is also a substance your adrenal glands naturally produce when trying to reduce stress or limit the immune system’s response. Therefore, a targeted injection of steroid can work to also reduce inflammation and the associated pain.

What to Expect

An epidural steroid injection involves a brief procedure to inject cortisone into the outermost section of the spinal column (or the epidural space). While natural cortisone is short-acting, artificial cortisone is designed to last for longer amounts of time, ranging from a few weeks to several months. It is also important to know that it will likely be a few days before you feel the full benefit of your epidural steroid injection. If your symptoms do not improve at all after one week, your physician will consider other treatment modalities or a different injection site.

Is a Steroid Injection Right for You?

The only way to accurately determine if your back pain can be relieved by an epidural steroid injection is to consult with a board -certified physician. At Clear Immediate Care, we are fully equipped to relieve chronic back pain with injection therapy. Our qualified physician will choose this type of treatment based on a physical exam and x-rays as well as the type, severity and duration of your symptoms. In general, epidural steroid injections are used for nerve pain in the spine such as herniated discs, sciatic pain and spinal stenosis.

Schedule your appointment at our Chicago clinic and learn more about our non-surgical treatment options to relieve chronic back pain.