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Epidural steroid injection
Epidural steroid injections (or ESI) are typically performed after non-invasive measures (Physical therapy and/or Chiropractic) have failed. An ESI procedure involves delivering a steroid medication directly to the site of the inflammation within the spine and it can be a very effective solution to back and neck pain. When conditions exist that cause nerve root and spinal cord inflammation and swelling the injection of corticosteroids can help to reduce the symptoms associated with the inflammation and swelling. In addition, for patients who wish to avoid the side effects that may come with oral steroids or the addictive power of narcotic pain medication, this can be an effective alternative. With ESI procedures they are typically done in a series. Patients progress with pain relief will be continuously monitored by the treating physician and if pain relief is no longer achieved through the injections than surgery may be considered.
When to Consider
As mentioned, typically an epidural steroid injection is considered only when non-invasive measures have failed. Most commonly patients will be encouraged to pursue 6 weeks of non-invasive care through physical therapy or chiropractic with strict adherence to the plan of care. If time has passed and the plan of care had been adhered to and symptoms have persisted an epidural steroid injection can be considered. Patients who may be considered for an ESI commonly have been diagnosed with sciatica, degenerative disc disease, spinal stenosis, and/or spondylosis
Recovery from epidural steroid injection
Epidural steroid injections are performed through minimally invasive approach and because little is done to the structural anatomy of the spine, recovery will typically be quick. Patients can often return to work the day following an ESI procedure. As with any procedure, however, it is important to pay close attention to the provider’s plan of care. It should also be noted that if a patient has an epidural steroid injection performed they can often benefit from continued pursuit of non-invasive therapies like physical therapy or chiropractic.
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