Monday, January 28, 2008

The Epidural Injection treatment for low back pain

Many patients come into our office with extreme low back pain caused by a herniated or bulging disc. This pain is often rated as a 10/10 (where 0=no pain, 10= worst possible pain). Before they come into our office, they have often tried other types of treatment. Often they have tried pain medications prescribed by their Dr, physical therapy, acupuncture, chiropractic, and epidural injections. Today I want to discuss what an epidural injection is, how it is performed and the risks involved with this treatment. It is called an epidural injection because because pain medication is injected into the epidural space of the spine. It is often used to treat such conditions as sciatica or pain caused by a pinched nerve in the lumbar spine. The injection is composed of a anesthetic medicine that caused a numbing sensation as well as long lasting corticosteroid. The purpose of these medications is to reduce inflammation around the irritated nerve and flush out those chemicals causing the pain.

Possible Risks of Epidurals

There are some possible risks of having an epidural treatment. These risks include:

  • Infection
  • Bleeding
  • Damage to the nerve- this can occur from direct contact from the needle
  • Dural Puncture
  • Paralysis

Possible Side Effects of Epidurals

There are possible short term side effects that can occur with epidural treatment. They include: numbness in your low back, buttocks or legs for several hours after the procedure, and pain at the injection site.

Contraindications to having an Epidural

Contraindications include patients who have a local or systemic bacterial infection, are pregnant, or have bleeding problems. It is also important to make sure check are completed for heart disease, diabetes and blood pressure as these medical conditions can be a contraindication.

1 comment:

Joe said...

An interesting article on epidurals can be found here:

Hope it helps.


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