Bone and Joint Blog

Epidural Steroid Injections: When are They Right for You?

Posted May 5, 2020 3:40:00 PM

When you think of an epidural, you may think of a woman during childbirth. However, epidural steroid injections (ESIs) are a proven treatment for many forms of back pain and can make a significant, positive impact on the day-to-day lives of chronic pain sufferers. When administered correctly by a skilled and knowledgeable physician, most patients can experience relief from their pain for months at a time. So, how do you know if an ESI will work for you? Here are some good guidelines.

Who Should Get an Epidural Steroid Injection?

ESIs work by delivering a mix of pain-relieving anesthetic and inflammation-reducing steroid directly into the epidural space of the spine. This space is located between the spine membrane and the dural wall and where nerve roots are housed. Exactly where along the spine the injection occurs will depend on the precise location of the injury/pain.

Generally speaking, an epidural steroid injection is best used for cases of back pain which are the result of compressed nerve roots. Some conditions which may benefit include:

  • Sciatica
  • Herniated Disc
  • Spinal Stenosis
  • Degenerative Disc Disease
  • Spondylolisthesis

ESIs are typically performed once more conservative treatments such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) and physical therapy have proven ineffective.

How Long will an Epidural Steroid Injection Relieve Back Pain?

Duration of relief is patient dependent. An ESI may deliver sustained pain relief, however, it is important to understand that it is not always a permanent fix. Most patients get an average of three to six months of relief. Sometimes subsequent injections may be needed to maintain results. Most insurance companies allow up to 5 ESIs per year. In addition to the comfort an ESI can bring patients, it has the added benefit of buying additional time for the back to heal and other treatments such as physical therapy to work before more invasive measures are considered.

Epidural Steroid Injections in Baton Rouge

A major key to successful back pain treatment with epidural steroid injections lies with the physician who will be administering them. Selecting a physician who is skilled, experienced, and knowledgeable is paramount to achieving optimal results. At the Bone and Joint Clinic of Baton Rouge, we have multiple, highly-trained spine specialists who evaluate, diagnose, administer treatments and perform surgeries when needed. To schedule an appointment with any one of these physicians, simply click below.