Many people live with chronic back pain, but there are ways in which it can be alleviated – or at least reduced. Taking over the counter pain medication is the most common way of getting rid of back pain, followed by prescription medication. If those don’t work for you, you can see your doctor about getting an epidural back pain injection. These aren’t for everyone, though, because they don’t work for all kinds of pain and they can have side effects. In labor and delivery, an epidural, or spinal block, is given to alleviate labor pain. This also deadens the legs, so it’s not desirable as standard pain relief.
For people with back pain, an epidural back pain injection can be used that will allow for pain relief without the numbness that’s associated with some kinds of epidurals. That’s good news to many back pain sufferers who really need some relief but who aren’t completely sure how they can best get it. Most of the injections that are given in this way are lumbar (lower back) injections, and they are generally steroid based. They work to reduce inflammation, which lowers the amount of pain that a person feels in his or her back. While they might not be right for you, the only way you’ll know is if you talk to your doctor.
Injecting steroids into the body can cause side effects, though, so you’ll need to weigh the degree of pain relief you’ll get with the risks that you’ll be taking on. Your doctor can help you determine if an epidural back pain injection is right for you, how often you’ll need to have one, and how much relief you can reasonably expect to get. That way, you can weigh that information against any risks or potential problems, and make the decision that’s right for you. How much pain relief you’re getting from other sources can play a large role in whether you want to have the injections, too.
For people with back pain that’s well controlled with standard medications, an epidural injection may be overkill. There’s no need to put more medication into your body than is necessary, so that’s something to think about when it comes to talking with your doctor about the injections. There is always some risk to the actual injection, as well, because anything that is being injected near the spine has the potential to be done incorrectly and cause spinal cord damage. That could be irreversible, and the potential for paralysis does exist.
While this risk is very low, it’s something you should think carefully about. Don’t allow someone else to talk you into getting an epidural back pain injection if you wish to control your pain another way, don’t feel safe getting the injection, or otherwise simply choose not to. Only you know the level of back pain that you’re experiencing and whether you can accept that level of pain in your life. What kind of quality of life you have is affected by pain, but the choice of how to control it must be up to you.
Written By: Updated: June 28,2011