Another way of treating chronic back pain without surgery is thoracic epidural steroid injection. Epidural Steroid Injection is a simple non-invasive procedure that provides a temporary relief for pain experienced in the thoracic region. The treatment reduces swelling around the spinal nerve roots by injecting a mixture of numbing and anti-inflammatory medicine to the pinched or inflamed nerves that sometimes causes the pressing of intervertebral discs.
Who Should Not Receive Cervical Epidural Steroid Injection?
Pregnant women or women suspecting pregnancy should consult their pain management doctor first before undergoing treatment. Same goes for people with medicine allergies and those who recently experienced sudden fever.
Before the epidural steroid injection procedure, patients must not take any anti-inflammatory and pain medicine. Taking of these types of medicine can be restarted after the treatment. A light meal can be taken before treatment and if the patient is an insulin dependent diabetic, they should not change their meal pattern before the procedure.
The physician will let you lie on your stomach or side before he/she will scrub the skin on the back and numb the area where the needle will be injected. X-ray will enable the physician to locate the needle and place it in the correct position. Injection of contrast material will help pinpoint the exact location where to put the medicine. A slight pressure will be experienced around the area, if there’s any pain, notify the healthcare provider right away. An additional test like an MRI may be needed before taking the shot in order for the healthcare provider to get more information regarding the structure of the patient’s back.
The doctor will observe the patient for a couple of minutes or hours before allowing him/her to go home. Eating and drinking might also be put on hold as part of the observation after treatment. The patient must have someone to drive him/her home after the shot in case the patient’s leg or back feels numb for a few hours. This is an expected result but it does not usually happen. The patient is also advised to record in an evaluation sheet the post thoracic epidural injection experience. Usually a follow-up appointment will be made for a repeat block. Most patients respond to just 1 or 2 injections but it can be done in a series of three, only if the doctor recommends it, with about two weeks apart from each treatment.
Due to the effects of the local anesthetics, the pain experienced prior to the shot may be gone or considerably less. However, the pain may return as the anesthetic wears off. Soreness may surface at the injection site for a day or two but relief from pain should be should happen about 1-2 days after the procedure.
Regenerative Spine and Pain Institute is your thoracic spine specialist in NJ serving Plainsboro and Princeton. We provide state of the art pain management treatment that helps to improve the quality of your life. For inquiries and appointment bookings contact us at (609) 269-4451.