Why Should I Consider a Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection?

Lumbar epidural steroid injections can help to relieve inflammation in the nerves that surround the spine. This article will explore how these injections work and in which cases they may be recommended.


Overview of a lumbar epidural steroid injection

Many conditions can create inflammation in the lumbar spine, or the lower back. Herniated discs or more general degeneration in the spinal discs can pinch or put pressure on neighboring nerve roots that run from the spine to other parts of the body. Bone spurs from arthritis in the spine can also irritate nearby nerves. When a nerve is pinched or irritated, it becomes inflamed, which can cause considerable pain and other challenging symptoms.

Lumbar epidural steroid injections are one potential source of treatment to help reduce nerve inflammation. During the procedure, an orthopaedic specialist will inject steroid medication into the epidural space of the lower back, which is a space near the spinal vertebrae that contains nerves, tissue, and blood vessels. The medication can then neutralize the inflammation in the region, which can help relieve the associated pain.

An injection may be recommended if someone’s chronic back pain fails to respond to more conservative treatments like physical therapy and anti-inflammatory pain relievers. These injections can be an effective way to quickly relieve pain and inflammation in the nerves of the lower back.


Causes of nerve inflammation in the lumbar spine

Nerves in the spine can become inflamed for a variety of reasons. Common causes for this inflammation include

  •       Herniated discs: When the outer cartilage of the spinal disc begins to crack, the soft inner cartilage can begin to poke through and irritate nearby nerves.
  •       Degenerative disc disease: The gradual dehydration or wearing down of spinal discs can put pressure on nearby nerves.
  •       Bone spurs: Arthritis in the spine from conditions like facet joint syndrome can cause bones in the spine to rub against each other, which can cause bone spurs to develop. These abnormal bone growths can put pressure on or pinch neighboring nerves.
  •       Sciatica: Pressure on the sciatic nerve can create pain, weakness, and numbness that radiates all the way into the legs.

Age-related wear-and-tear on the discs and joints of the spine can affect the nerves that travel from the spine to other parts of the body. Repetitive stress or spinal injury can further advance the compression of nerves, which can lead to substantial pain and inflammation in the spine.


Symptoms of nerve inflammation in the lumbar spine

Common symptoms of inflammation and irritation of nerves in the lumbar spine include

  •       Pain in the lower back that can radiate into other parts of the body, including the arms, legs, and feet (can be chronic or occasional flare-ups)
  •       Numbness in the back, arms, or legs
  •       Tingling in the back, arms, or legs
  •       Weakness in the back, arms, or legs
  •       Difficulty moving around or doing normal activities

If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, seek medical attention right away to avoid further injury in the lumbar spine.


Treatments for nerve inflammation in the lumbar spine: lumbar epidural steroid injections

Nerve inflammation is often first treated with a range of conservative treatments, including

  •       Anti-inflammatory pain relievers
  •       Physical therapy exercises that strengthen the spine and improve range of motion
  •       Avoiding activity that further stress the spine

When the inflammation fails to respond to these treatments, an orthopaedic specialist may consider a lumbar epidural steroid injection based on the individual case.

During the procedure, steroid medication is injected into the epidural space of the lower back to relieve inflammation from a pinched or irritated nerve. The orthopaedic specialist is often guided by an X-ray to know the precise location of where the injection should be administered.

This injection can deliver relatively quick and effective pain relief for many individuals, but a doctor will determine whether it is a good option for the individual case.


Lumbar epidural steroid injections at OAR

Chronic back pain and inflammation can be a challenge. At OAR, our team of orthopaedic specialists and surgeons work hard to get you some of the most innovative and effective treatments for spinal inflammation. We will work with you to find the best course of treatment to help you start feeling like yourself again.

Book an appointment with us today!

Only a doctor can tell you if you have this ailment. This is for informational purposes and should not be used in lieu of a doctor’s opinion.

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