Epidural Injection for Back Pain

If you have a chronic pain condition, not only are you in constant pain, but you can find it hard to cope both physically and mentally with the unrelenting discomfort. Gazelle Aram, MD, at Expert Care Center in Delray Beach, Florida, is a pain specialist who provides a holistic approach to pain management so you can find the treatments that work best for your condition. To get started, schedule a consultation with Dr. Aram online or by phone today.


What is pain management?

Pain management is a comprehensive care plan that helps patients cope when they have severe or chronic pain conditions for which it may not be possible to eradicate the pain.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, chronic pain is a problem that affects around 50 million Americans, with almost 20 million experiencing some form of severe chronic pain.
Administering increasingly potent doses of pain-relieving medication isn’t effective as the only treatment for chronic pain, although medicines do have their place in pain management.

Dr. Aram creates a pain management plan for her patients at Expert Care Center that incorporates medication and other types of therapies to achieve optimal outcomes and relieve pain as much as possible.

What conditions cause chronic pain?

Long-term degenerative conditions like osteoarthritis, disc herniations, and nerve damage are a major cause of chronic pain, as are many other incurable musculoskeletal conditions. Injuries to soft tissues that don’t receive the correct treatment in the early stages can also become chronic problems, like an acute back injury developing into ongoing lower back pain.


Conditions arising from repetitive stress that leads to inflammation and small tears in your tendons, such as tennis elbow or tendonitis, are another frequent cause of chronic pain.

Chronic pain often starts when there’s an injury or illness, and in the acute stage, the pain acts as a warning that there’s something wrong. However, after the acute phase, the pain sometimes continues even though it’s become redundant, so instead of helping you, it’s making everything far harder.

Chronic pain can also result from nerve damage or dysfunction, which means your nerve endings send pain signals back to your brain even when there’s no tissue damage.

Candidates for Epidural Steroid Injection

Epidural steroid injections are a popular treatment option for various back pain and spinal conditions. However, they are not suitable for everyone. Understanding who makes an ideal candidate for this minimally invasive procedure can help you make an informed decision about your pain management strategy.

Benefits of Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections

Lumbar epidural steroid injections are widely used as pain medicine for managing various lower back and leg pain types. 
These injections offer several benefits that can significantly improve a patient’s quality of life. Below are some of the key benefits:

Pain Relief

Pain relief is one of the most immediate and noticeable benefits 
of lumbar epidural steroid injections. The injection delivers anti-inflammatory medication directly to the source of pain, providing rapid relief lasting several weeks or even months. This can particularly benefit those suffering from chronic back pain, sciatica, or degenerative disc disease.

Enhanced Quality of Life

Enduring chronic pain can take a toll on your emotional and mental health, impacting your overall life quality. Lumbar epidural steroid injections improve your quality of life by effectively alleviating pain and enhancing your range of motion. You may find it easier to sleep, engage in social activities, and participate in hobbies and interests you previously avoided due to pain.

Reduction in the Need for Oral Pain Medication

Chronic pain often necessitates oral pain medications, which can have various side effects, including gastrointestinal issues and the potential for addiction. One of the benefits of lumbar epidural steroid injections is that they can reduce or even eliminate the need for these medications, offering a more targeted approach to pain management.

Improved Mobility

Pain often restricts movement, making even simple tasks difficult. Lumbar epidural steroid injections can alleviate this pain, thereby improving your mobility and making it easier to engage in physical therapy, exercise, and daily activities that you might have avoided due to pain.


of the Epidural Injection

Understanding the components of the lumbar epidural steroid injection can help you better grasp how this treatment works. Here are the key elements of an epidural injection for back pain:


One of the primary components of an epidural injection is corticosteroids, also known simply as steroids. These are potent anti-inflammatory medications designed to reduce inflammation around the roots of the spinal nerves. By doing so, epidural corticosteroid injections can alleviate pain and discomfort caused by herniated discs, lumbar spinal stenosis, and sciatica.


The second major component of an epidural for back pain is an anesthetic, often a local anesthetic like lidocaine or bupivacaine. This medication relieves pain by numbing the area around the injection site and blocking pain signals from reaching the brain. The drug works quickly, offering immediate relief, while the corticosteroids take time to reduce inflammation.

How the Epidural Steroid Injection Procedure Is Performed

Lumbar epidural injections are typically used to treat conditions that cause irritation or inflammation of spinal nerve roots with associated lower back and leg pain. Being familiar with epidural injections for back pain can ease any worries about the treatment.


The first step in the process is a detailed consultation with Dr. Aram. During this meeting, you’ll discuss your medical history…
current symptoms, and any previous treatments you’ve tried. This consultation is crucial for determining whether an epidural injection is the appropriate treatment for your condition.


Before the procedure, you may be required 
to fast for a certain period, usually about 6 to 8 hours. Additionally, you may need to stop…
taking certain medications, such as blood thinners or anti-inflammatory drugs, to reduce the risk of complications. Dr. Aram will give you specific instructions tailored to your medical history and current medications.


The actual procedure usually takes about 15 to 30 minutes. You’ll be asked to lie on your stomach or an X-ray table. The area where…

the injection will be administered is cleaned and sterilized. A local anesthetic is applied to numb the skin. Using fluoroscopic guidance, Dr. Aram will insert a needle into the epidural space in your spine and inject the medications. The epidural needle is removed once the injection is complete, and a small bandage is applied to the injection site.

Post-Procedure Care

Once you’ve had an epidural injection, lying down and relaxing for at least two hours after you get home is crucial. Over-the-counter pain medications may be taken if recommended by your healthcare provider. For the initial 24 hours, restrict periods of walking or sitting to no more than 20 minutes at a time and use an ice pack on the area where the injection was administered to minimize swelling. Gradually increase your activity level over the next week, avoiding strenuous exercises and heavy lifting. Monitor for signs of infection like redness or swelling at the injection site.

What treatments are available for pain management?

Once she confirms the cause of your pain, Dr. Aram can prepare a plan detailing the medication you should take and any other therapies that could help you manage your condition. Potential therapies that Dr. Aram can incorporate into your plan include:

There are also implantable technologies that are effective for people with severe pain who aren’t finding relief with other interventions. Devices such as spinal cord stimulation (SCS) and dorsal root ganglion (DRG) stimulation work by blocking pain signals so they don’t reach the brain.


Pain management also requires consideration of the importance of mental health – for example, counseling, therapy, and information about managing pain from 
a psychological perspective.

For more information about pain management, call Expert Care Center or book 
a consultation online today.

Frequently Asked Question

Is the epidural injection procedure painful?

The epidural injection procedure is generally not considered painful, as a local anesthetic is often used to numb the area before the injection. However, some patients may experience mild discomfort or pressure during the needle insertion.

Lumbar epidural injections are generally effective in temporarily relieving lower back pain, especially when caused by conditions like herniated discs or spinal stenosis. The effectiveness can differ from person to person and is affected by the underlying cause of the pain.
Epidural injections are usually not used as a primary treatment for chronic pain but as part of a comprehensive pain management plan that may include physical therapy, medication, and lifestyle changes.
The effectiveness of time that pain relief lasts following an epidural injection can differ widely among individuals, ranging from a few weeks to several months. The longevity of comfort depends on the underlying condition being treated.
No, epidural injections are not suitable for everyone. They are generally not recommended for individuals with certain medical conditions, such as infections, bleeding disorders, or allergies to the medications used in the injection.

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