When a car accident places sudden impact on your spine, you could very well end up with a herniated disc. Affecting some 2% of people each year, herniated discs are a leading cause of pain in the arms, neck, back, and legs.
Disc herniation is treatable, thankfully, and epidural injections provide a valuable option.
Our expert team at Houston Pain Specialists, led by board-certified pain management specialist Hui Kang, MD, offers epidural injections to help you regain comfort and ease in your daily life.
In this blog, we delve into this common injury, including how this minimally invasive treatment can help.
Herniated disc basics
Research shows that car accidents can cause both cervical and lumbar disc herniation. While a cervical herniated disc typically causes symptoms in the arms, lumbar herniation symptoms affect the lower back and legs.
A cervical herniated disc may cause:
- Pain between or near your shoulder blades
- Pain that radiates to your arm, hand, or fingers
- Neck pain, especially at the back and sides
- Pain that increases when bending your neck
- Numbness or tingling through your arms
A lumbar herniated disc may cause:
- Sciatic nerve pain, which shoots down one side of your buttocks into your leg
- Back pain
- Muscle weakness
- Tingling or numbness in the legs and/or feet
A herniated disc can also stem from wear-and-tear of your spine over time or from lifting heavy objects while your back is curved. Carrying excess weight may also contribute.
If you’re already at risk for disc herniation, a car accident may kickstart the bothersome symptoms. The same can unfold, however, even if you’re not predisposed to disc herniation.
How epidural injections can help
An epidural contains a steroid called cortisone and a numbing anesthetic. Once you receive an injection into the space around your spinal cord, you should notice some immediate relief from the anesthetic.
Within the following week the cortisone reduces inflammation, leading to additional pain relief.
Because individual results vary, our team monitors your progress. While epidurals do relatively little to minimize pain for some people, others experience long-lasting relief.
Your epidural treatment may also work well as part of a customized treatment plan that includes components such as over-the-counter pain medication, heat or ice therapy, rest, physical therapy, or chiropractic therapy.
The relief you experience from your injection may also make participating in physical therapy and chiropractic therapy more feasible.
Good candidates for epidural injections
We often recommend epidural steroid injections when other measures, such as rest and ice therapy, don’t suffice. You may also be a good candidate if:
- Your post-accident pain is severe or long-lasting
- You aren’t allergic to anesthesia
- You don’t have blood clotting issues, an infection, or poorly controlled diabetes
After a comprehensive exam and review of your medical history, Dr. Kang determines if an epidural injection is ideal for you.
To learn more about epidurals for a herniated disc after a car accident or to get the treatment you need, contact our Houston, Texas, office today to schedule an appointment.