The Ultimate Guide to Spinal Injections

A doctor recommends a spinal injection when you are dealing with severe back or neck problems that are not responding to conservative measures. Doctors use spinal injections in a couple of ways. The first is diagnostic, where they diagnose the source of leg, arm, back, or neck pain. In the second method, doctors use spinal injections as therapeutic, where they rely on them to relieve pain. Regenerative Medicine and Orthopedics provides its patients with many different types of spinal injections.

1. Epidural Steroid Injections
Doctors turn to epidural steroid injections when other non-surgical procedures have not gained much success in eliminating lower back pain and leg pain. Epidural steroid injections have been used for decades for the same purpose. It is a medical procedure where your doctor uses a fine needle and relies on the guidance of an X-ray to place very strong anti-inflammatory medication near the inflamed nerves.

Epidural steroid injections are administered with local anesthetics either in the office or a surgical center. It takes between five and 10 minutes to administer, and you will have to lie down on your stomach before the injection is given. It is also worth noting that a post-injection observation and recovery of 20 minutes are needed.

2. Facet Joint Injections
A facet joint injection can be performed for both therapeutic and diagnostic purposes. It is a type of spinal injection where your doctor places it into and around your facet joints. Facet joints are small joints located between each vertebra on the back of your spine. Doctors administer facet joint injections when pain is due to an injury or degenerative/arthritic conditions. Needless to say, this type of spinal injection is effective for treating lower back, middle back, and neck pain.

3. Sacroiliac Joint Injection
As its name suggests, a sacroiliac joint injection targets the sacroiliac joints, which connect the ilium (pelvis) and sacrum bones. When your sacroiliac joint has issues, you will feel pain in your buttock, leg, and lower back. In almost all cases, one joint is painful and transfers the pain to one side of the lower body. It is extremely rare for both sacroiliac joints to be painful simultaneously.

Like facet joint injections, sacroiliac joint injections can be used both as a diagnostic and therapeutic. They are used as a diagnostic to reduce the severity of pain in a particular area of the buttock, upper leg, or lower back. A sacroiliac joint injection typically includes a steroid medication when used for therapeutic purposes. Its goal in such a case is to provide longer pain relief.

4. Trigger Point Injections
Regenerative Medicine and Orthopedics in Miami uses trigger point injections to treat various conditions. Like epidural and facet joint injections, a trigger point injection involves injecting a combination of an anti-inflammatory (like a steroid) and local anesthetic into the area experiencing problems.

It is important to note that trigger point injections are normally performed without the guidance of an X-ray. Instead, most doctors prefer to use a similar technique called dry needling. Dry needling involves inserting a needle without medication into the trigger point. Other types of spinal injections Regenerative Medicine & Orthopedics offers are platelet-rich plasma, medial branch block, and caudal steroid injections. Patients who schedule an appointment with Dr. Alicia Carter are normally seen within five minutes. Furthermore, Carter strives to personally know her patients to make interactions friendlier.

Conditions Treated with Spinal Injections
In Miami, Carter uses spinal injections to treat a wide range of conditions, as seen below.

1. Cervical Radiculopathy
Studies show that cervical radiculopathy affects around 83 per one hundred thousand people annually. If you have this condition, you are likely to be bothered by neck, arm, and shoulder pain. A cervical epidural steroid injection is used to help alleviate all these symptoms. The injection gets rid of the pain by reducing inflammation and swelling in the area where compressed nerves are located.

2. Degenerative Disc Disease
Lumbar epidural steroid injections (LESI) are used to treat degenerative disc disease. The injection helps reduce inflammation, thereby relieving pain. During the procedure, the doctor directly places steroids into the epidural area of the spine. These injections consist of a combination of cortisone and a local anesthetic.

3. Facet Syndrome
To treat facet syndrome, the doctor uses fluoroscopy to insert a needle; fluoroscopy ensures the needle is inserted properly. Once the doctor is certain that the needle is in place, they then inject a steroid and an anesthetic into the facet joint. The anesthetic numbs the pain, whereas, the steroid reduces inflammation.

Other conditions that Regenerative Medicine and Orthopedics treats through spinal injections are:
• Spondylolisthesis
• Spinal stenosis
• Herniated discs
• Sciatica (lumbar radiculopathy)

What to Expect on Injection Day
On injection day, make sure you arrive early because there are normally some questions to answer and paperwork to fill out. These questions help the doctor verify whether you are ready for the procedure. In some cases, the doctor may ask that you come in “NPO”, which means you should not have anything to eat or drink for at least six hours before the procedure. The reason for this is that the procedure might leave you nauseated. This means you are likely to vomit if you ate.

The doctor will also ask you to change into a hospital gown. After that, you will be connected to a device that monitors your blood pressure and pulse (heart rate). Ideally, some doctors start an intravenous (IV) line in their patients’ arms before asking them to lie on their sides or sit on a stretcher. The doctor then uses antiseptic to prepare the area on the patient’s back. The doctor may also inject lidocaine into the area the injection will be administered.

To summarize, spinal injections are administered to relieve back and neck pains in instances where conservative measures are unsuccessful. There are different types of spinal injections, including epidural steroid injections, facet joint injections, and trigger point injections. At Regenerative Medicine and Orthopedics in Miami, Carter uses these spinal injections to treat various conditions such as herniated discs, degenerative disc disease, and cervical radiculopathy.

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