A herniated disc is one of the most common injuries treated with epidural steroid injections, but what exactly is a herniated disc? To explain this we should start with quick anatomy of the spine. The spinal column is made up of 33 separate bones called vertebrae that are stacked on one another across the full length of the back. Between each of these vertebrae is a cushiony disc that serves a few purposes, but the one that concerns us the most is to act as a shock absorber in the spine, preventing the bones from rubbing against one another. The discs are made up of two parts: the inner jelly-like layer called the nucleus and the harder outer layer called the annulus.
Over time from shocks, movements and wear and tear the disc layers can break down. The jelly-like interior can begin to push out causing the outer layer to expand and push against the spinal nerve which runs alongside the whole spine. The spinal cord is responsible for the whole communication network inside the body of nerves which sends pain feelings to each and every part of the body. When the expanding disc pushes against the spinal nerve it can cause sharp pains from the upper back down into the arms if the disc is in the upper back. Or from the lumbar area of the lower back down into the legs.
Epidural steroid injections are one of the safest and most common treatments for herniated discs that we currently know of today. A doctor that specialized in epidural steroid injections can help to consult with you on if the exact solutions they use and any allergy risk. But the steroid injections are made of a solution that contains a steroid or corticosteroid (typically dexamethasone or triamcinolone) and a numbing agent like lidocaine. It is important to note that the steroid is an inflammation reducer giving the body a much-needed break from the constant pressure against the spinal nerve. This can allow the body to stimulate its own hormones to assist the body in the healing process.
Epidural steroid injections are such a great way to treat the pain and inflammation because it is so minimally invasive. It is a quick procedure that can be done by your local pain management doctor. There is a short recovery time with some limitations on activity for the first day or two, and optimal results can be felt around one week after the procedure. The resulting effects can vary based on the condition and the individual but about 3 months of relief is the average.
Herniated Disc Pain management is something we specialize in treating at Downtown Pain Physicians, To find out if you are a candidate for Epidural steroid injections contact our top of the line office in Manhattan: Downtown Pain Physicians. 80 Maiden Ln #905A, New York, NY 10038. (212) 404 8070