Injections to Treat Spinal Stenosis

What is Spinal Stenosis?

Spinal stenosis is described as the narrowing of the spinal canal in your lumbar or lower back. As the spinal canal narrows, the nerves can become pinched as a result of degenerative disorders such as bone spurs, bulging or herniated discs, facet joint cysts, thickening ligaments, and arthritis of the spine. Epidural steroid injections are often used to treat the symptoms of spinal stenosis when more conservative treatments are not effective.

Epidural steroid injections are able to provide temporary, and sometimes long-term, relief because they contain a corticosteroid, which is a powerful synthetic chemical that reduces inflammation and pain caused by spinal stenosis. Read on to learn more about whether epidural steroid injections would be helpful for treating your spinal stenosis symptoms.

Do I Need Epidural Steroid Injections for Spinal Stenosis?

If you have been diagnosed with spinal stenosis, you may be experiencing the following symptoms:

  • Local pain
  • Traveling pain to extremities
  • Tingling, numbness and stiffness
  • Weakness in the legs
  • Cramping or muscle spasms
  • Difficulty balancing and walking
  • Headaches and overall physical weakness

Before using an epidural steroid injection for spinal stenosis, a physician is likely to recommend these conservative treatments first:

  • Rest or reduced activity
  • Traction or inversion tables
  • Physical therapy or chiropractic visits
  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
  • Low-impact exercises, such as walking or swimming

However, if these initial spinal stenosis treatments have not provided the pain relief you hoped for and your symptoms remain persistent and severe, an epidural steroid injection may be the next course of treatment. In addition to the pain relief these injections provide, an added benefit is that they can allow you to engage in exercise and physical therapy that would otherwise be difficult.

Spinal Stenosis Epidural Steroid Injections Procedure

First, a doctor will find where the [ain and discomfort originates through imagery like an MRI, CT scan, or X-ray. For instance, lumbar spinal stenosis, the most common form of the condition, occurs in the lower spine. If you have cervical spinal stenosis, the narrowing of the spinal canal occurs in the upper spine.

During the epidural steroid injection procedure, a fluoroscope, or real-time X-ray, is used by the doctor to find the exact spot of narrowing in your spinal column. A local anesthetic is often applied to numb the area of injection. Finally, a large needle is inserted into the epidural space outside the spinal cord, in order to inject the corticosteroid right to the source of nerve compression.

Corticosteroid injections are extremely effective for many patients, with some reporting immediate relief. Doctors will usually limit the frequency of epidural steroid injections because they can cause serious long-term side effects, including hypertension, osteoporosis, and weight gain. Short-term temporary effects from the injections may include slightly raised blood sugar, nausea, dizziness, headaches, and insomnia.

Dr. Keith Girton is our spine and orthopaedic surgeon who performs corticosteroid injections at our Cincinnati surgery clinic. Contact our team today to learn more about treatment with Dr. Girton m.d..

Treatment with BEST

Surgical intervention may be necessary if conservative efforts are ineffective. Through the use of modern technology, surgeons are now able to complete these procedures without the need for large incisions. BEST Health System is the industry leader in minimally invasive care. Even compared to other minimally invasive surgical providers, BEST is setting the blueprint. Contact our team to schedule an appointment or learn more about our services. Put an end to your back pain now and for all.