What is a Spinal Injection?
When back pain and sciatica do not respond to conservative measures to control pain, your doctor or surgeon may recommend an injection of medication into the back. This is usually a combination of local anaesthetic to numb the area and a steroid that will reduce inflammation and swelling.
The cause of your pain will determine the type, site and dose of injection your doctor recommends. Common injections include:
- Steroid & anaesthetic combination around the facet joints (also called the 'Z-joints') that link the vertebrae together.
- Steroid &/or anaesthetic into the epidural space (the area around the spinal cord).
- Anaesthetic injections in nerves as they come out of the spine or as they travel through the body.
Injections can be very effective at relieving pain and potentially prevent an episode of low back pain developing into chronic.
Unfortunately, injections do not cure the cause of pain. Their effects begin to wear off weeks to months after the initial procedure. For this reason, many doctors prescribe injections as part of a combination of therapies rather than as a curative treatment.