Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection in Plano, TX
Lumbar Injections in Plano, TX
For lower back pain, numbness, or tingling that won’t go away, see Stephen Courtney, MD, at Advanced Spine Center. Located in Plano, Texas, Dr. Courtney offers a variety of conservative and minimally invasive solutions to lower back pain and sciatica, including lumbar injections. To get the relief you’re looking for, schedule a consultation at Advanced Spine Center by calling 972-499-5457. You can also schedule your lumbar epidural steroid injection in Plano online.
What Is a Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection?
A lumbar epidural steroid injection (LESI) is a medical procedure commonly used to alleviate pain and inflammation in the lower back, specifically in the lumbar region of the spine. This type of injection delivers a combination of a local anesthetic (numbing medication) and a corticosteroid (anti-inflammatory medication) into the epidural space, which is the area around the spinal cord and the nerves that exit the spine.
An epidural injection delivers medicine into the epidural space of the spinal cord. These injections are commonly used as a form of pain relief for chronic low back pain, leg pain, numbness, tingling, and muscle weakness.
How Do Lumbar Injections Work?
Lumbar injections, including lumbar epidural steroid injections (LESI), work by delivering medications directly into the lumbar region of the spinal canal, which is the lower back area. These injections are typically used to manage pain, reduce inflammation, and alleviate symptoms associated with various spinal conditions.
Lumbar injections are administered precisely to target specific areas in the lumbar spine, such as the epidural space, facet joints, or spinal nerves. The choice of injection site depends on the underlying condition and treatment goals.
The primary medication in lumbar injections is typically a corticosteroid. This medication has potent anti-inflammatory properties. In the case of lumbar epidural steroid injections, the corticosteroid is injected into the epidural space, which surrounds the spinal cord and spinal nerves. This reduces inflammation and swelling in the area, which can cause pain and discomfort.
Inflammation in the spinal area can result from various conditions, such as herniated discs, spinal stenosis, or arthritis. Inflammation can put pressure on nerves, causing pain and discomfort. The corticosteroid medication helps reduce this inflammation, which in turn can relieve pain and improve function.
When Are Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections Used?
Lumbar epidural steroid injections (LESIs) are used as a therapeutic option to manage pain and inflammation associated with various spinal conditions affecting the lower back (lumbar spine) and lower extremities. They are typically considered when conservative treatments have not provided adequate relief for managing lumbar spinal pain. They are also used when there’s a need for more targeted and potent pain management.
If a patient struggles with leg pain, lumbar radicular pain, or chronic pain in the lower back, lumbar epidural steroid injections are an effective option. Before receiving a lumbar epidural steroid injection, patients should have a thorough evaluation by an orthopedic spine surgeon in Plano.
What Conditions Can Lumbar Injections Help?
Lumbar injections can help manage pain and inflammation associated with various spinal and lower back conditions. These injections can provide targeted relief when conservative treatments like physical therapy, medications, and lifestyle modifications have not adequately addressed the symptoms. Conditions that lumbar injections may help include the following.
- Lumbar facet syndrome
- Lumbar spinal stenosis
- Degenerative joint disease
- Lumbar disc herniation
- Lumbar radiculopathy
- Failed back surgery syndrome
Dr. Courtney performs a thorough evaluation and orthopedic exam along with imaging, including X-rays and an MRI, as needed, to determine your diagnosis and treatment options.
Who Performs Lumbar Injections?
Lumbar injections are typically performed by healthcare providers specializing in pain management, interventional pain medicine, or spine care. These healthcare professionals have specialized training and expertise in administering various types of injections to alleviate pain and manage a range of spinal and lower back conditions.
Dr. Courtney, as an orthopedic spine surgeon, is extremely adept at performing the epidural steroid injection procedure. He has decades of experience helping patients achieve significant pain relief with various treatments.
Aside from orthopedic spine surgeons, other healthcare professionals who frequently administer lumbar epidural corticosteroid injections include the following.
- Pain physician
- Nurse practitioner
What Types of Lumbar Injections Are Available?
Dr. Courtney uses a variety of injections to address lower back pain, numbness, and tingling. Depending on your symptoms, the site of your pain, and your diagnosis, he can recommend one of the following injections.
Steroids and numbing medication are injected into the joint space between your vertebrae to relieve pain and inflammation.
A combination of steroid and analgesic medications is injected into the epidural space surrounding your spinal cord. This procedure can be done with or without a contrast dye to determine where the injection is placed.
A transforaminal epidural steroid injection involves placing steroid and analgesic medications at the site of an irritated nerve root.
Analgesic (painkilling) medication is injected into the nerve roots in the facet joint space. This procedure is done using contrast dye and X-ray fluoroscopy for proper placement.
A steroid injection is directed into the sacroiliac joint space to reduce pain and inflammation.
Similar to a medial branch block, a combination of steroids and analgesic medications is injected into the nerve roots that exit specific sites of your sacrum.
Lumbar injections are used for diagnostic purposes to identify the source of your pain and as a treatment option to relieve pain and inflammation. Injections can be combined with other treatments, including physical therapy, anti-inflammatory medications, and lifestyle modifications.
How to Prepare for a Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection
Before undergoing lumbar epidural steroid injections, consult with your healthcare provider, who will perform the procedure. They will evaluate your medical history, assess your condition, and discuss the potential benefits, risks, and alternatives.
Tell your doctor about all your medical conditions, allergies, medications, and supplements you are currently taking. This includes over-the-counter drugs, prescription medications, and herbal supplements.
Your healthcare provider may have you fast for a certain period before the procedure. Typically, you should avoid eating or drinking for several hours before the injection, as this reduces the risk of nausea and vomiting during and after the procedure.
Because you may experience temporary numbness or weakness in your lower back or legs after the injection, it’s advisable to arrange for someone to drive you home after the procedure. You should not drive for the rest of the day.
Set aside the day for the procedure and rest afterward. You should take it easy and avoid strenuous activities for a day or two following the injection.
If you are receiving the LESI to manage chronic pain, be prepared to discuss your pain management plan with your healthcare provider. They can advise you on adjusting pain medications before and after the procedure.
Before the procedure, feel free to ask any questions or express any concerns about the LESI. Understanding the process and what to expect can help alleviate anxiety.
What Happens During a Lumbar Injection?
Before the procedure begins, you will change into a medical gown and lie down on the procedure table. Your doctor will either have you lie on your stomach or sit upright, depending on the situation.
To prepare for your injection, Dr. Courtney cleans the skin on your back and injects a local anesthetic into the treatment area to prevent pain during the procedure. Next, he guides a sterile needle into the epidural space — with contrast dye and X-ray-guided fluoroscopy, if appropriate — and places the medication at the treatment site. The injection takes fewer than five minutes and numbs the irritated spinal nerve roots.
Afterward, Dr. Courtney places a bandage over the area. You could notice an immediate decrease in your pain levels, though some patients need several injections to get the best results.
After the injection, the healthcare provider will monitor you for a short period to ensure there are no immediate complications or adverse reactions to the procedure. You will receive specific post-procedure instructions, including restrictions on activities, advice on managing any post-injection discomfort, and information about follow-up appointments.
How Painful Is a Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injection?
The pain level experienced during a lumbar epidural steroid injection (LESI) can vary from person to person and depends on several factors. However, due to the administration of a local anesthetic before the procedure, most patients feel little to no discomfort. Needle insertion can cause mild pain or pressure, but the local anesthetic should help mitigate this.
After receiving lumbar epidural steroid injections, many patients have mild soreness or pain at the injection site. This should subside within a few days. If you experience severe pain during or after the epidural injection, tell your doctor immediately.
Risks, Side Effects, and Complications of Lumbar Injections
As with most other procedures, epidural corticosteroid injections have risks and potential complications to be aware of. Side effects and complications from LESIs are rare, but they do happen. Some side effects of lumbar epidural steroid injections include the following.
- Temporary pain increase
- Bruising or tenderness at the injection site
- High blood sugar
- Increased blood pressure
- Nerve damage
- Allergic reaction
It’s essential to have a thorough discussion with your healthcare provider about the potential risks and benefits of the procedure, especially if you have specific medical conditions or concerns. Dr. Courtney will take steps to minimize risks and ensure your safety during the injection.
What to Expect After Lumbar Epidural Steroid Injections
After undergoing lumbar epidural steroid injections (LESIs), you can expect certain experiences and effects, varying from person to person. You may experience immediate relief from pain due to the local anesthetic that was injected along with the corticosteroid. This immediate relief typically lasts for a few hours.
It’s common to feel some soreness or discomfort at the injection site, similar to the sensation you might experience after any injection or minor procedure. The corticosteroid’s anti-inflammatory effects may take a few days to provide noticeable pain relief. During this time, you may still experience some discomfort, and it’s possible for your pain to increase briefly before improving. This is often called a “flare” and is usually temporary.
Many individuals experience significant pain relief lasting several weeks to several months. The duration of pain relief can vary depending on factors like the underlying condition being treated and the individual’s response to the injection.
Along with pain relief, you may notice improved function and mobility, which can allow you to participate in physical therapy or rehabilitation exercises more effectively.
Follow any post-procedure instructions provided by your healthcare provider carefully. They may include restrictions on certain activities and guidance on managing any lingering discomfort.
While most people tolerate LESIs well, there can be some mild side effects, such as soreness, bruising, or temporary fluctuations in blood sugar levels. These side effects are usually temporary and can be managed as needed.
Serious complications from LESIs are rare but can include infection, bleeding, nerve injury, or severe allergic reactions. Contact your healthcare provider if you experience any unusual or severe symptoms after the injection.
How Long Do Lumbar Injections Take to Work?
Many patients feel no change in their pain for the first two or three days following the injection. They may feel pain that has worsened or improved temporarily, but most patients feel the benefits of the injections after about three days. The effects of the injection should be at their peak around two weeks after the procedure.
This simply means that it may take time for the injection to take effect and provide pain relief. If you still have soreness around the injection site before the medication kicks in, you have a few options. First, you can apply an ice pack to the site for a few minutes multiple times a day. You can also resume taking your usual pain medication.
How Long Do Lumbar Injections Last?
Much like cervical epidural steroid injections, LESIs provide temporary pain relief that can last for three months or longer. Some patients only experience a few weeks of pain relief, and some patients have little to no pain relief. Speak with Dr. Courtney for more information about whether lumbar injections are right for you.
What Is the Success Rate of Lumbar Epidural Injections?
Generally, lumbar epidural steroids are effective for relieving pain caused by irritated or inflamed spinal nerves. However, certain factors, such as the underlying condition, type of medication, and administration route, can all affect the effectiveness of epidural injections.
Because each patient experiences pain differently, the efficacy of any pain medication can vary. However, LESIs have been shown to produce significant improvements in pain from herniated discs, sciatica, and spinal stenosis.
Contact the Advanced Spine Center for Lumbar Injections in Plano, TX
Lumbar epidural steroid injections (LESIs) are a valuable and effective option for managing pain and inflammation associated with a range of spinal conditions. If you’ve been struggling with lower back pain, leg pain, or other discomfort, epidural injections may be the solution. Dr. Courtney is a board-certified, fellowship-trained orthopedic spine surgeon with decades of experience on his side.
He can evaluate the source of your pain and work with you to develop a customized treatment plan. Each and every patient’s experience with pain is different. This is why each patient receives personalized attention at the Advanced Spine Center.
Learn more about lumbar injections by scheduling a consultation online or by calling the Advanced Spine Center at 972-499-5457 today.