What is an Epidural?

An epidural is a steroid injection prescribed to patients experiencing symptoms of low back pain and neck pain. Epidurals may also be referred to as a back pain injection, a spinal injection for back pain, or a cervical injection.

The low dose of steroid, which acts as an anti-inflammatory, is injected directly into the space outside the fluid sac that surrounds your spinal cord. Known as the epidural space, inflammation of this area often results in pain caused by irritation to spinal nerves.

An epidural injection is not suitable for everyone; a complete evaluation by our certified healthcare professionals, known as pain specialists, can help determine if your symptoms of back, neck, arm, or leg pain are best treated with this integrative approach.

Common Symptoms We See in Our Patients

Patients with neck and lower back pain often experience the following symptoms:

  • Radiating pain that shoots down the arms and feet all the way to the fingers and toes
  • Inflammation of the nerve ending in the spinal cord
  • Decreased mobility
  • Muscle spasms
  • Stress
  • Changes to mood

What is Causing My Need for an Epidural

Patients experiencing chronic pain that affects their daily routine and overall quality of life may seek out pain management injections such as epidurals.

We prescribe epidural injections for spinal, and neck pain after other forms of traditional treatment and medications have not worked. Our pain specialists can help determine if an epidural is right for you and your customized treatment plan with a thorough health evaluation.

How Will You Treat My Pain

Epidural injections are minimally invasive procedures done on an outpatient basis.

Patients lie face down or on their side on a surgical table. The skin surrounding the injection site is cleaned with an anti-bacterial cleanser. A local anesthetic is used to numb the region. We use ultrasound-guided imagery to detect the exact location to inject the low-dose steroid. The cervical or spinal epidural injection is administered.

Some patients may feel a bit of pressure during the injection process. The entire epidural injection procedure lasts less than an hour; after it's complete, we recommend taking it easy for a day or two.

Most patients recommend a change in levels of pain after 2 to 3 days of the procedure. It's important to note that epidural injections are not a long-term solution; pain relief can remain for up to a few months, but in order for it to be effective, physical therapy and other forms of pain management need to be followed.

We customize our treatment plans based on several factors, including patient health history, current levels of pain, and previous forms of treatment.

Our staff of nurse practitioners and board-certified physicians are experts in the field of pain medicine and can answer any concerns you may have regarding pain management.

If you are dealing with neck or lower back pain that radiates to your extremities and want to learn more about integrated approaches to improve your condition, call Scott Wagner Integrated Medicine in Charlottesville, VA, at (434) 978-4888 to learn more.


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