An epidural injection is medication injected directly into the epidural space, the fatty lining that surrounds the spinal cord and cushions the nerves and bones of the spine. This form of localized anesthesia blocks the nerve impulses that deliver pain signals from the back to the brain. While people often associate epidurals with pregnancy, these powerful shots can also be used to treat chronic back pain. Epidural injections can be used to relieve back pain from a variety of conditions, including: spinal stenosis, bulging or herniated discs, sciatica, and nerve damage.
An epidural will often include several medications, such as anti-inflammatory medications or steroids. This suite of medications will improve the analgesic effects and reduce swelling. The doctor will use medical imaging techniques such as computed tomography or fluoroscopy to place the epidural injection in a site that will maximize its pain-relieving effects. The epidural is administered in close proximity to the source of pain, in contrast to broad-reaching oral medications that affect the entire body non-specifically. This also eliminates the unwanted side effects of many pain relieving medications.
The epidural will typically take 1 to 3 days to start working, usually not more than one week. Fortunately, the nerve-blocking effects of an epidural can last several months or longer, depending on your individual circumstances. An epidural can provide enough relief from an acute episode of severe pain to allow the patient to participate in physical therapy, rehabilitation, or stretching.
If you are interested in getting an epidural injection, then make an appointment with Advanced Medical Imaging. We also offer MRIs, CT scans, mammograms, and more at our medical imaging clinics in Denver, Golden, Thornton, and Louisville. Make an appointment with our pain management services today by contacting us online or by calling (303) 647-6504.