To give you an idea of the prevalence of low back pain, the National Institute of Health reports that 80% of the adult population in the United States suffers from low back pain at some point during their lives. And of those who experience an acute problem in their backs, 20% go on to suffer long-term pain, which limits their lives in some very significant ways.
If you fall into this large group, you’ve no doubt been searching for a solution that will put an end to the misery, once and for all. Here at Houston Pain Specialists, under the experienced guidance of Dr. Hui Kang, our team of pain management specialists understands the frustration of dealing with chronic back pain, and we offer a number of effective solutions, including epidural injections.
If you’ve been unable to find relief for your chronic back pain, here’s a look at how an epidural injection can help.
The anatomy of your back
To better understand why an epidural steroid injection is so effective, it’s helpful to take a quick look at the anatomy of your back and its function. At the heart of your back lie the 33 vertebrae that make up your spine. And these vertebrae are separated by 23 discs, which provide cushioning and support.
Surrounding your spine is a complex support network made up of the following soft tissues:
While your back provides your body with foundational support, allowing a range of motion while providing support and balance, your spinal canal is also the primary conduit for your nervous system.
What this means is that back pain can be especially intense and problematic because of the highly sensitive nerve roots and nerves that branch out from your spine.
How an epidural injection works
If you’re experiencing chronic back pain, the odds are that inflammation is irritating the nerves and nerve roots along your spine. To address the source of your pain, we turn to a solution that reduces the inflammation and pain as close to the source as possible — your epidural space. This space is located just outside your dural sac, which encircles your spinal cord, nerve roots, and cerebrospinal fluid.
With an epidural injection, we introduce a steroid and a local anesthetic into your epidural space, and the two medications work together to reduce the inflammation that’s irritating your nerves.
Who can benefit from an epidural injection?
Back pain can develop for many reasons, and each requires its own approach tailored to your unique situation. That said, we’ve had great success using epidural injections to combat the pain associated with:
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated discs
- Spinal stenosis
- Compression fractures
While these are the most common causes of chronic back pain, an epidural injection may help in other less common causes of back pain, such as an annular tear in your disc.
Buying valuable time
If you’ve tried other remedies for your chronic back pain, you’re likely looking for a longer-term solution. Epidural injections, when they find their target, can provide you with up to several months of relief, giving you valuable time to address the underlying cause of your back pain. You can also repeat the injections with us to maintain your newly pain-free life.
If you’d like to explore further how an epidural injection can help relieve your chronic back pain, please give us a call at 713-664-2662. Or you can use our convenient online scheduling tool to request an appointment.