Every year, back pain affects millions of Americans. Back pain is uncomfortable and can be debilitating. It frequently causes damage to other parts of the body. Back pain interferes with your quality of life and can limit your ability to live life to the fullest.
Back pain can be acute or chronic. There are many factors that determine the kind of pain you experience. The back is a very complex structure; conditions vary from short-term wear-and-tear to degenerataive diseases. Over-the-counter medications and surgeries relieve this type of pain.
Options for Treating Back Pain
Treating back pain with minimally invasive procedures and joint injections is common. Fluoroscopic guidance helps physicians perform these treatments, allowing them to see the affected area on a display screen and place the needle with incredible precision. Fluoroscopy guidance helps prevent surgery since it will enable minimally invasive techniques to be performed with the most incredible accuracy.
Your symptoms, root source of pain, and lifestyle determine which treatment method is best for you. There are numerous minimally invasive procedures and joint injections that work to reduce pain.
Joint Injections and Treatment Options
Epidural Steroid Injections
This injection reduces inflammation in the spinal column that causes pain and nerve irritation. Anti-inflammatory fluid is injected into the epidural space of the spine. Physicians recommend these injections for patients with spinal stenosis, herniated discs, and degenerative disc disease. Patients typically find their relief starts within 5-7 days after receiving the treatment. The effects of the medication last anywhere from a few days to a few months.
Facet Joint Injections
Facet joints are small joints that let your back move and bend with ease. When these joints are inflamed or damaged, they can cause a great deal of pain. In this procedure, a steroid and anesthetic is injected into the joint. It can be beneficial for patients who have cartilage damage or back injuries from repetitive twisting.
Trigger Point Injections
Trigger points are small muscle cramps within the body of a muscle that are incredibly tender. They refer pain to in other areas of the body. This injection administers a numbing agent to the area of pain, which allows the muscle to relax and reduce pain. Trigger point injections help back pain due to pressure being applied in a specific area
Sacroiliac Joint Block Injection
The SI joint connects the lower back of the spine to the pelvis. Inflamed and painful joints affect movements such as sitting and walking. This injection consists of both an anti-inflammatory steroid and numbing agent. It is injected directly into the sacroiliac joint to relieve pain as effectively as possible.
Expected Results After Joint Injections
Joint injections are an outpatient procedure and are typically performed in an out-patient facility. Patients typically resume walking after the injection but need to have someone drive them home after receiving treatments. This is because doctors will administer a low-dose local anesthetic to numb the affected area before treatments.
It is common for pain to continue a few days after the treatments, especially as the numbing agent wears off before the medication takes effect.
Pain relief generally starts two to seven days after the injection and can be reduced for several months. Often, your physician will refer you to a physical therapist during treatments to strengthen your joints during this time of reduced or eliminated pain.
When injections help successfully reduce pain, they can be repeated about three times a year. If joint injections do not provide pain relief, other treatment options are available. Keep track of your pain levels and communicate clearly with your doctor to create the best-suited therapy plan for treating back pain.