Epidural steroid injections are one of the most common treatment options recommended by doctors for severe back pain. Here, we’ve laid out a brief overview of the details of epidural injections and why they continue to play an important role in treating spinal conditions, such as disc herniations.
What Are Epidural Steroid Injections?
An epidural steroid injection is an injection of medications into the spine used to reduce swelling and inflammation in order to relieve muscle and nerve pain. The medication is injected into the epidural space, the area surrounding the spinal cord and spinal nerves.
What is an Epidural Space?
The epidural space is an area between the vertebrae and the dural sac (a membranous, protective layer located within the spine). The epidural space contains fatty tissue and nerves, among other tissue. Because the epidural space contains nerves, it is often the source of back pain; because it contains fatty tissue, it is an optimal location for an injection to combat such pain.
What Are Disc Herniations?
Disc herniations happen when a portion of the spinal discs has been (usually due to physical trauma) pushed out of place or ruptured. When a disc herniation occurs, the soft center of the disc (nucleus) tears through the tough outer layer (annulus), causing nerve aggravation. Because disc herniations can lead to pain, one of the main treatment options available for patients with disc herniations are epidural steroid injections.
Since epidural steroid injections are designed to relieve pain from aggravated nerves in the spine, they can be used to treat the symptoms of a disc herniation, or severe pain in the back and neck.
For more information on epidural injections, minimally invasive surgery, and the surgeons at Orangewood Surgical Center, call (714) 221-4236.