Injection therapy for back and spine pain
One treatment option to help you relieve your back or neck pain is injection therapy. It delivers medication directly to the area causing the issue and helps reduce inflammation and discomfort.
You may be a candidate for injection therapy if you're still having pain and more conservative options have failed, or if you need some pain relief and mobility in order to participate in physical therapy. An HonorHealth physician can help you determine if you can benefit from this type of therapy.
Common types of injections include:
- Epidurals (used for lumbar spinal stenosis and sciatica)
- Facet joint injections (injecting medicine directly into either one of the lumbar or cervical joints)
- Sacroiliac joint injections (used to treat lower back pain or sciatica symptoms associated with dysfunction in this joint)
- Radiofrequency ablation (burning certain nerves in the spine that act as pain sensors)
Even though injections can reduce pain, you should not think of them as cures. They can provide a window of opportunity for:
- Physical therapy
- Lifestyle modifications
- A chance to reduce oral medications
- Determining if surgery is appropriate. (You should only consider surgery if there is neurologic compromise, instability or failure of more conservative treatment.)
How are injections done?
Here's what you can expect:
- Injections will be discussed at the doctor's office
- Injections require the use of a fluoroscopy (x-ray) machine to help guide the needle
- For epidurals and joint injections, there are two parts to the medicine that is being injected, lidocaine (numbing medicine) and cortisone (steroid)
- For radiofrequency ablation, the needle tip heats up, thereby burning the nerves that are sensing pain from arthritic joints
- Most procedures typically lasts less than 20 minutes, but radiofrequency ablations can last up to 30 minutes