Spinal Injection Treatments in Baton Rouge
What is a Spinal Injection?
A spinal injection is one of the most effective tools available for the diagnosis and treatment of pain occurring in the back or neck, and oftentimes in the arms or legs as well. When used for the purpose of treating pain, a spinal injection can deliver a dose of pain-relieving medication precisely to the source, providing extended relief over a period of weeks or even months. This technique is typically not used as a standalone treatment and will be combined with other modalities such as physical therapy.
How Does a Spinal Injection Diagnose Pain?
While pain may be felt in one area, it can often originate from another, a condition known as referred pain. Spinal injections can be a useful tool to help diagnose referred pain, helping doctors pinpoint its true source. If your physician suspects that arm pain, for instance, is originating from the neck, an injection in the suspected area that effectively reduces or eliminates the discomfort can be taken as a confirmation of the diagnosis.
What are the Different Types of Spinal Injections?
The specific type of spinal injection a patient will need depends on the type and location of their pain. There are three commonly used types of injections for the back and neck:
Epidural Steroid Injection
Many cases of spine related back and neck pain arise from inflamed nerve roots (radiculopathy) and can be associated with disc herniations as well as arthritis of the joints in the spine. These conditions can result in chronic pain that may feel like a burning, shooting, or electric-type sensation. Other possible symptoms include numbness, tingling, and weakness that may travel along the nerve to other areas such as the extremities. Epidural steroid injections (ESIs) address these concerns by directly injecting a mix of anesthetic and steroid medication into the epidural space within the spinal canal.
Facet Joint Injection
Facet joints are located between each vertebrae of the spine. They also allow the spine to move, in bending and twisting motions. Just as is the case with other joints in the body, facet joints can experience wear and tear from their repetitive motion, often resulting in pain. Facet joint injections help relieve this pain when injected directly into the worn or arthritic joint at the neck, middle, or lower back area.
Sacroiliac Joint Injection
The sacroiliac (SI) joints connect the spine to the remainder of the pelvis and lower extremities. With that, they are joints that are under high levels of stress. The joints normally move very little with normal activities, as they are stabilized by strong ligamentous complexes in the back. However, when these joints move too much (hypermobility) or too little (hypomobility), low back pain and discomfort can result. By delivering a localized steroid injection into the SI joint area, patients can experience relief from the pain and inflammation SI joint dysfunction brings.
How Long do the Results from Spinal Injections Last?
Some patients may experience a “one-and-done” shot which completely relieves his or her neck and back pain. Others may experience temporary relief. The duration of benefit depends on a number of factors from overall patient health to location of the injection. Most patients will receive several weeks to months of relief from each injection. Sometimes, 3 to 4 injections per year may be necessary to maintain their results and provide pain relief.