Types of Injections For Back Pain

Back pain is an extremely common health problem, and it was documented as the leading cause of work absence throughout most of the world. Acute low back pain results from injury to the muscles, ligaments, joints, or discs. The body reacts to injury by mobilizing an inflammatory healing response. This inflammatory together with compression exerted over the nerve roots is the main culprit for low back pain and the referred pain in thighs and legs. Fortunately, the pain resolves for the vast majority within 2-4 weeks.

However, the pain sometimes is chronic and can limit the patient’s daily activities. Studies have shown that local injections are of a great benefit in treating chronic back pain. Epidural steroid injections are most commonly used for therapeutic purposes in patients with chronic back pain. Up to three injections can be given over a period of two weeks; however, long-term results do not appear to be any different from those achieved with a single injection. Although the response to the injections is variable, many authorities believe epidural injections are only of short-term value. Injection with corticosteroids may be helpful in cases of focal inflammation. These cases include tailbone pain, degenerative disc disease, lumbar disc prolapse, and cervical stenosis.

Types of injections for back pain

Ablation injections, which aims to ablate a normal sensory nerve, may provide more long-lasting relief in appropriately selected patients. For instance, ablation can be used to damage nerve fibers at the coccyx, so that those nerves are no longer able to send pain signals to the brain. Ablation can be accomplished chemically via injecting neurotoxic agents such as phenol and/or ethyl alcohol directly onto the targeted nerve tissues. Regardless the condition, the procedure involves injecting around a select nerve that is causing the pain. The procedure needle is positioned near the nerve, and a neurolytic agent is instilled around the nerve. This procedure can be performed either for therapeutic or diagnostic purposes.

Facet joints, which are tiny joints between the vertebrae on either side of the posterior spine, can be directly injected with steroid. Facet rhizotomy ‘radiofrequency ablation’ is a procedure which involves inserting a special probe needle around the facet joint, and using radiofrequency energy to destroy tiny sensory nerves. Studies have shown that facet rhizotomy offers long-term back pain relief of average fifteen months.

Regardless the different names of pain injections, they are considered a less invasive treatment modalities compared to surgical intervention. Additionally, most spinal injections will result in pain relief for a period of time that varies based on the specific procedure performed along with the severity of the condition.

Fluoroscopically guided spinal injections involve the use of contrast media and X-rays to view the delicate structures the human spine. This technology provides adequate visualization during pain injections procedures, and help obtain better outcomes. Fluoroscopy-guided spine injections are considered to be a safe procedure. For all spinal injection procedures, patients are positioned lying on their side or abdomen on the procedure table. Firstly, the injection site is cleaned using an antiseptic. Secondly, the skin and deeper tissues are numbed using a local anesthetic. After that, the X-ray tube device is positioned over the body, and the procedure needle is guided into the target site depending on the condition. While viewing the tip of the needle, the doctor then injects the medication into the targeted joint or space, then the procedure needle is removed, and a small bandage is applied to the site.