If you are no stranger to back pain, you probably know how much it can hurt and how much it can impact your daily life. Back pain is the type of condition that can ebb and flow, with flareups happening more than once. Patients who experience this have likely found that time is a key element with pain in this area. If you can be patient enough, it’s not uncommon for the pain to eventually dissipate. However, what happens if you just can’t stand the discomfort in the meantime? One solution is getting steroid injections.
If your back pain is severe or persistent enough that you are considering steroid injections, that means that you should be in the care of a specialist experienced in performing this type of procedure. One good choice is Dr. Charla Fischer, who has administered steroid injections many times. Your physician will first make sure that you have given conservative treatments a good chance, such as other medications and physical therapy.
If you are a good candidate for steroid injections, there are some things you must know before proceeding with this treatment:
- Steroid injections are not always successful.
- They nearly always provide only temporary relief, with the possibility of having the same symptoms return in several months.
- These injections are for controlling symptoms, not for curing your condition.
- Steroid injections do not speed up the healing process or prevent future flareups.
- These injections are useful for things like shooting nerve pain related to a herniated disc or for symptoms related to spinal stenosis. They are not typically used for ordinary back strains.
- It is not advised to have more than 3 to 4 steroid injections per year because too many shots into the same area can damage surrounding tissues or thin the skin.
Steroid injections work by inserting a numbing agent mixed with an anti-inflammatory drug called cortisone. An experienced specialist like Dr Fischer targets the precise area that is causing your discomfort. The target area might be the epidural space around the spinal cord where the nerves exit to go to other parts of the body. Nerve roots are often the source of lower back pain, including sciatica. Another target could be inflamed joints that are known to swell related to conditions like arthritis. Tendons are another target for steroid injections when tendinitis is determined to be the source of pain.
The numbing effects of the shot wear off after a few hours and your symptoms may return initially, but relief should be evident 24 to 48 hours later. This only occurs in successful cases of steroid injections, which isn’t always the result. It is difficult to predict whether or not the injection will help a certain patient or not. Dr. Fischer will discuss the risk of failure as well as others possible risks, such as infection or nerve injury. Steroid injections can be a helpful and welcome tool in treating significant, persistent back pain, but it is vital to discuss your condition with your doctor and make sure your expectations are set correctly about possible outcomes.
Contact our office today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Fischer