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When to Consider Epidural Steroid Injections for Your Neck or Back Pain

If you live with chronic neck and back pain, you know how much it can interfere with your life. You may have already tried several treatments, such as taking over-the-counter pain relievers.

One treatment that you may not have considered is nonsurgical epidural steroid injections, which can provide powerful pain relief. However, this option isn’t right for everyone. Here, the physicians at Glaser Pain Relief Center explain when epidural steroid injections may be the right choice to manage your neck pain and back pain.

What are epidural steroid injections?

Epidural steroid injections are a minimally invasive method of delivering powerful pain-relieving medications directly to your back or neck. These injections use steroid medications, which are effective anti-inflammatory drugs. Because most pain is caused by inflammation, the injections often provide immediate relief from your pain.

Your physician injects the steroid into your spinal column into a space called the dura, which is how the epidural gets its name. While you can take oral steroids for pain relief, these are much less specific in comparison to the epidural injection. Steroid injections are targeted specifically at the areas where you need pain relief.

Possible side effects of epidural steroid injections

Although epidural steroid injections are very effective in providing pain relief, they do sometimes cause side effects. The most common side effects of epidural steroid injections include:

Most of these side effects are from the steroids, not from the procedure. You might experience similar side effects from oral steroids.

Who shouldn’t get epidural steroid injections

Epidural steroid injections provide excellent pain relief for most people. However, some patients should ask our team about other options for pain relief. 

For example, people with diabetes should use caution when getting epidural steroid injections because the side effects of steroids can raise your blood sugar. This can make it more difficult to keep your blood sugar under control, especially if you use insulin.

You also shouldn’t get epidural steroid injections too frequently. Repeated steroid injections can weaken your bones and nearby muscles. Steroids also disrupt your natural hormone balance to some extent, so they should be used on a limited basis and with caution.

Alternatives to epidural steroid injections

When you make an appointment at Glaser Pain Relief Center, we perform a thorough health examination. We consider your overall health and the treatments that you’ve already tried before deciding what next course of action might be right for you.

Some patients with chronic neck or back pain may benefit from physical therapy — either in addition to epidural steroid injections or as an alternative. This approach is often helpful for patients who are advised not to get epidural steroid injections, including those with diabetes. 

In some cases, you may be referred for spinal surgery on your neck or back. This is especially likely to be the case if you have already had several rounds of epidural steroid injections or if these injections failed to provide effective enough relief.

If you would like to find out whether you’re a good candidate for epidural steroid injections for your neck and back pain, call the physicians at Glaser Pain Relief Center today, or request an appointment using our online tool.

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