Chronic pain affects more than one out of every five Americans, interfering with life and work activities and taking a big toll on comfort and quality of life. Today, many types of chronic pain can be successfully managed with injections aimed at blocking pain signals and reducing painful inflammation.
At Pacific Pain and Regenerative Medicine in Irvine and Los Angeles, California, Hasan Badday, MD, and his team offer injection therapy on an outpatient basis, using X-ray imaging and other techniques to ensure maximum benefits based on each patient’s symptoms and needs. Here are five types of injections that could help you find long-lasting pain relief.
1. Facet joint injections
Facet joints form where each pair of spine bones (vertebrae) meet. These joints help your spine move, twist, and stay flexible. They also allow nerves to pass from your spinal canal to every other part of your body.
If your joints are damaged or inflamed due to an injury or a disease like arthritis, you can wind up with chronic pain and stiffness. Injections of corticosteroids and anesthetics reduce these painful symptoms. These injections can also be used to diagnose spine issues affecting your joints and nerves.
2. Epidural steroid injections
The epidural space is a sac of tissue that surrounds your spinal cord and protects it. Epidural steroid injections use X-ray imaging to administer corticosteroids for relief of painful inflammation.
As with facet joint injections,a local anesthetic is administered to numb the injection site, then the steroid is injected, sometimes along with another anesthetic. Sedatives can also be administered to help you relax throughout the injection procedure.
3. Sacroiliac joint steroid injections
Your sacroiliac (SI) joint is located at the very bottom of your spine, connecting the top of your hip bone to the bony, triangular-shaped sacrum just above your tailbone (coccyx). SI joint pain is a common cause of chronic lower back pain, along with pain and other symptoms radiating into your buttocks and legs.
SI joint injections administer corticosteroids to the tissue surrounding this joint, reducing inflammation and the nerve compression it can cause. As with many other spine injections, SI joint injections can also be very useful as a diagnostic tool to identify the cause of spine pain.
4. Selective nerve root block
Selective nerve root blocks deliver long-lasting corticosteroids right to the root of a nerve as it exits the spinal column. Nerve blocks prevent pain signals from traveling along specific nerves (hence the term “selective”).
Selective nerve root blocks can be helpful in managing chronic pain and in determining (or ruling out) the cause of pain. These injections can be used to block painful symptoms caused by sciatica and other herniated disc-related problems.
5. Lumbar sympathetic block
Lumbar sympathetic blocks are used in the lower back (the lumbar region of your spine) to treat sciatica and other problems caused by compression or damage of the sympathetic nerves in that area.
These injections can be used to block pain signals from your lower back, buttocks, and legs. They’re frequently used to treat issues like shingles (herpes zoster), reflex sympathetic dystrophy, chronic regional pain syndrome, and peripheral neuropathy.