Spinal injections can be used to provide temporary relief from chronic neck or back pain, or to diagnose the source of the pain. The goal of injections is typically to use a combination of a numbing agent and a corticosteroid to reduce inflammation around a nerve, thereby easing symptoms. These injections can be used for diagnostic purposes, helping doctors pinpoint a specific nerve as the source of pain.
What conditions can spinal injections treat?
Spinal injections are usually recommended if more basic treatments have not been successful in relieving pain related to a spine condition. Common spine conditions include:
- Arthritis of the spine
- Herniated disc
- Bulging disc
- Spinal stenosis
Specific symptoms of spinal nerve compression caused by the above conditions include localized pain, radiating pain, tingling, numbness or muscle weakness.
Types of injection treatments
Areas where steroidal injections are commonly administered include the epidural space, which protects the spinal cord, and the facet joints that link the vertebrae. Injections can also be administered to the sacroiliac, or SI joints, which is where the sacrum and the pelvis meet. Different types of injections include:
- Facet joint injection
- Sacroiliac joint block injections
- Selective nerve root block (SNRB)
- Medial branch nerve blocks
- Trigger point injections
- Costovertebral block
When injections are not enough
Therapeutic spinal injections are usually performed in a series, normally with no more than three during a 12-month period. This repetition is necessary because the anti-inflammatory effects of cortisone wear off over time. Diagnostic injections, such as a SNRB, typically only involve a numbing agent and are often used during surgical evaluations to determine the potential effectiveness of a recommended procedure.
If therapeutic injections and other conservative treatments like physical therapy are not enough to manage debilitating neck or back pain, surgery can become a serious consideration. As an alternative to traditional open neck or back procedures, Austin Midtown Ambulatory Spinal Center provides minimally invasive spine surgery that can be performed on an outpatient basis.