If you’ve experienced back pain for at least three months, it’s considered chronic. Your pain may linger in one area of your spine or radiate more broadly, with an intensity that ranges from a mild, dull ache to excruciatingly severe or throbbing.
And the pain doesn’t need to be constant during those months in order to be diagnosed as chronic or to receive worthy care. Back pain that flares up frequently over months is a chronic condition, too.
Regardless of the specifics of your back pain, you may want to consider an epidural, a minimally invasive treatment that can bring immediate benefits.
Our expert team at Houston Pain Specialists, led by board-certified pain management specialist Hui Kang, MD, diagnoses and treats back pain through a range of treatments to help you get back to the function and quality of life you miss.
Here’s a closer look at chronic back pain, including what to expect from an epidural.
Chronic back pain causes
A variety of conditions and events lead to or worsen chronic back pain. Problems marked by back pain, for example, include compression fractures, osteoarthritis, and spondylitis.
You could also develop long-lasting back pain after a spill or accident, a sports injury, or months or years of poor posture.
At Houston Pain Specialists, we frequently recommend an epidural for back pain related to related to:
- Bone spurs
- Herniated discs
- Pinched nerves
- Spinal stenosis
- Spine surgery
Smoking, having a job that requires a lot of heavy lifting, and being middle-aged or older raise your risk for chronic back pain. A sedentary lifestyle or being prone to anxiety or depression may contribute as well.
What to expect from an epidural for back pain
You may be a good candidate for an epidural if your back pain continues after milder treatments, such as pain-relieving medications, approved exercise, and improved posture. You also need to meet certain medical criteria, such as not having an active infection or an anesthesia allergy.
The treatment involves an injection that contains a numbing anesthetic and a steroid commonly referred to as cortisone. Dr. Kang injects this solution into the space surrounding your spinal cord.
An epidural requires only an appointment, and you’ll likely experience some welcomed relief straight away, thanks to the anesthetic and longer lasting relief from the steroid. The cortisone starts working within a week or so, reducing irritation and inflammation for added pain relief.
We may recommend a series of injections over time and/or additional treatments, depending on how your back pain responds.
To learn more about epidurals for chronic back pain or get started toward the relief you need, contact our Houston, Texas, office today to schedule an appointment.