Have low back pain?

Posted August 7, 2014 at 10:42 am

If you are experiencing low back pain, Cedar County Memorial Hospital (CCMH) can help.

CCMH offers epidural steroid injections to back pain patients. The therapy will involve 1-3 injections and 3-6 visits with our physical therapy department to work on core muscle stabilization.

An epidural steroid injection (ESI) is an injection of a small dose of anti-inflammatory medication (called a glucocorticoid) into the lower back to relieve pain in your legs or lower back. Patients best suited for this treatment option include those with chronic and acute back pain, especially patients with pain radiating to either or both legs. Lumbar epidural steroids are indicated for patients with large disc herniations, spinal stenosis, lateral disc herniations and sciatica.

The beneficial effects of epidural steroid injections are temporary, lasting one week to a year. Most studies report that more than 50% of patients find measurable pain relief. The pain relief and control brought about by epidural steroid injections can improve mental health and quality of life, minimize the need for painkiller use and potentially delay or avoid surgery.

Lumbar steroid injections in combination with a comprehensive physical rehabilitation program provide the greatest benefit. Steroids placed in the epidural space can inhibit the inflammatory process caused by both mechanical and chemical sources of pain. The steroid injected is a man-made, synthetic drug that is similar to cortisol, a natural hormone produced in the adrenal gland and brain. Maximum pain relief may not occur for up to six weeks following the initial injection.

Complications and negative effects from the steroids themselves are rare. The procedure itself involves injecting a small amount of anesthetic beneath the skin. After the numbing medication is injected, only minor discomfort should be felt as the epidural space surrounding the spinal nerves is located. The steroid is then placed, and the patient recovers for about 30 minutes. The patient is free to resume light activities and work the following day.

The second injection would be scheduled following favorable results from the initial injection.

To see if you are a good candidate for epidural steroid injections, visit your primary care provider. Together, you can discuss your back pain and whether you are a good candidate to receive this treatment. You will meet with an Anesthetist before the procedure who will review the risks and benefits of the procedure and answer any questions you may have. For more information, call 876-3720.