If pain has become a near constant in your life and other measures have only gone so far, you may want to consider an epidural. While this minimally invasive treatment has a strong reputation for minimizing childbirth pain, that’s not where the benefits end.
Our expert team at Houston Pain Specialists, led by board-certified pain management specialist Hui Kang, MD, offers epidural injections to bring you the relief you long for.
Let’s delve into epidurals, including conditions they treat and signs you’re a good candidate.
How epidurals work
Epidurals combine two ingredients that address your pain in different ways. The anesthetic provides a virtually immediate numbing effect. The steroid cortisone they contain gradually reduces inflammation.
So once we inject the epidural, you’ll likely experience notably less pain, plus additional pain relief in the coming days.
Epidural uses besides childbirth
Beyond easing labor pains, epidural injections treat pain related to injuries, illnesses, surgeries, and chronic conditions.
At Houston Pain Specialists, we may recommend an epidural to treat pain related to:
- Bone spurs
- Chronic back and neck pain
- Herniated discs
- Pinched nerves
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Spinal stenosis
- Spine surgery
Depending on the specifics of your symptoms, the underlying cause, and how your body responds to your initial injection, you may benefit from multiple injections.
Good candidates for epidurals for chronic pain
Epidural injections aren’t typically a first line of defense when pain sets in. If your pain has lasted for at least a few weeks and other treatments, like oral medication and physical therapy, haven’t sufficed, epidurals provide a promising option.
Before your epidural, you may need to stop taking particular medications, such as blood thinners, temporarily. Follow your physician's instructions regarding which medications to pause and for how long, as well as when to resume taking them after your procedure.
Epidural effectiveness for pain relief
Chronic pain and its treatments, including epidurals, affect people differently, but most people experience at least some amount of pain relief from the injections. In some cases, the benefits are substantial.
In a study involving 60 people with sciatica pain, epidurals provided significant pain relief for 42% of patients with severe stenosis and 87% of patients with mild or moderate stenosis.
Another study showed that epidural injections can greatly reduce back pain intensity brought on by disc herniation. Research also shows that chronic pain relief can carry on when six injections are given over the course of two years.
Thankfully, there’s little risk in trying an epidural if you’re a good candidate. The process is quick and complications, such as infection or nerve damage, are rare.
To learn more about epidurals or get the pain management support you need, contact our Houston, Texas, office today to schedule an appointment.