Mention “epidural injections,” and many people think of the anesthetic injections given prior to childbirth or some types of surgery to block nerve sensations in the lower body. But there’s another type of epidural injection — epidural steroid injection or ESI — that’s used to relieve many types of chronic pain.
More than half of Americans suffer from recurring or chronic pain. As a leading pain management specialist with offices in Los Angeles and Irvine, California, Hasan Badday, MD, offers epidural steroid injection therapy as part of his custom pain management treatment regimens for patients at Pacific Pain and Regenerative Medicine.
Here’s how ESIs could help relieve your chronic pain symptoms.
How epidural steroid injections work
Your spinal column contains nerves traveling from your brain to every other part of your body. The column is covered by a thin layer of protective tissue called the dura (or dura mater).
The area surrounding the dura is called the epidural space, and it contains blood vessels, fat, and other tissue. Nerves leaving the spinal column pass through the epidural space before traveling to your arms, legs, organs, or other parts of your body.
Dr. Badday administers epidural injections directly to this epidural space. The injections contain corticosteroids (sometimes simply referred to as steroids), powerful anti-inflammatory agents that target swelling and reduce nerve compression. Anesthetics may also be included in the injection fluid to help numb discomfort.
Once injected, steroids go to work to eliminate inflammatory compounds and reduce irritation around the nerves causing your painful symptoms. These injections can be used to manage pain and to help diagnose the cause of symptoms.
What to expect during and after your epidural
Dr. Badday performs ESIs right in our office, using the most advanced technology for optimal results. Prior to your injection, you’ll change into a gown and lie face down on an exam table.
Next, Dr. Badday administers a local anesthetic to numb the injection site, along with sedatives to help you relax. He positions an X-ray machine over your spine. The X-ray helps him place the needle precisely in the area causing your painful symptoms.
The injection takes just a few moments. You might feel a little pressure, but the anesthetic means you won’t feel any pain. Afterward, you’re monitored for a brief amount of time before being discharged. You won’t be allowed to drive at first, so be sure to bring someone along who can drive you home.
Dr. Badday provides detailed recovery instructions, but in general:
- No driving for 12-24 hours
- No heating pads, warm compresses, or saunas for 72 hours
- Use ice packs to relieve mild soreness
- Take over-the-counter pain medicine as needed
Follow instructions regarding physical activity and caring for your injection site. If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to call our office. In most cases, Dr. Badday schedules a follow-up visit in a couple of weeks.
Find relief with custom pain management
Chronic pain can be debilitating, interfering with your daily activities and taking a dramatic toll on your quality of life. To learn more about ESIs and how they can help you finally find relief for your painful symptoms, book an appointment online or over the phone with Pacific Pain and Regenerative Medicine today.