While many back and neck problems respond well to the most conservative treatments, if yours don’t, steroid injections could be the answer. Orthopaedic spine specialist Evan O'Brien, MD, and Chris Hennessey, PA, at Woodbury Spine, provide a range of steroid injection treatments at their practice in Woodbury, New Jersey. Steroid injections are effective for a wide range of spinal problems, including nerve compression conditions like sciatica and degenerative diseases such as facet joint arthritis. To find out more, call Woodbury Spine, or book an appointment online today.
Steroid injections are a treatment option that can help with persistent back or neck pain. Dr. O'Brien typically uses steroid injections when conservative measures aren't delivering the required results.
Several types of steroid injections can help with back or neck pain, including:
The dural membrane covers your spinal cord, with the epidural space surrounding it. Nerves coming from your spinal cord and spreading through your body pass through the epidural space.
Facet joints are pairs of small joints that link all your vertebrae. They're particularly vulnerable to conditions like osteoarthritis from years of wear-and-tear.
Dr. O'Brien can inject steroid medication into the epidural space or the facet joints, where it reduces inflammation in the nerves and tissues.
Dr. O'Brien uses steroid injections to treat a variety of spinal conditions, including:
Compressed nerves cause problems like tingling, "pins-and-needles" sensations, burning, numbness, and loss of function, as well as pain. These symptoms typically spread into one or both arms, if the problem is in your neck. If the problem is in your lower back, the pain radiates to your legs.
Epidural steroid injections are usually best for pain that develops in your spine and radiates to your arm or leg, which indicates nerve inflammation or compression. Facet joint nerve injections are most effective for injuries and degenerative or arthritic pain.
Steroids are highly potent anti-inflammatory medications that are most effective when injected into the damaged tissues. The steroid works for several months and often longer.
In addition to the steroid, your injection is likely to contain a local anesthetic to numb the pain completely. The effect of the local anesthetic is short-lived but helps diagnose the problem by providing immediate pain relief for a few hours.
Steroid injections can be performed with intravenous sedatives or under local anesthesia. If you choose sedation, the anesthesia team gives you a sedative through an IV (intravenous) line in your arm. The sedative makes you feel relaxed and sleepy. Dr. O’Brien then uses a local anesthetic to numb the area he's going to inject.
Dr. O'Brien uses an X-ray technology called fluoroscopy to view real-time images of your spine. These images help to ensure that the needle goes in exactly the right place avoiding nerve injury.
After a steroid injection, you need to wait in the recovery area while the sedative wears off, then you can go home.
To determine whether steroid injections could help ease your persistent back or neck pain, call Woodbury Spine today to book an appointment.