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Have You Tried an Epidural for Your Herniated Disc?

Have You Tried an Epidural for Your Herniated Disc?

Herniated discs are among the most common back injuries. When a spinal disc herniates, it bursts open. Its soft interior pushes out through its hard shell, pressing against spinal nerves and causing pain.

If you suffer a herniated disc, your doctor may prescribe rest, physical therapy, pain medication, or muscle relaxers. Herniated disc pain usually resolves within a few weeks on its own — but what happens if it doesn’t?

Unfortunately, herniated discs can become a source of chronic back pain for some people. And when conservative care is no longer enough, you aren’t out of options.

Our team at Manhattan Orthopedics offers a range of nonsurgical herniated disc treatments, and one of the most popular is epidural injections. If you haven’t tried an epidural for your herniated disc, it’s time to learn more.

How epidurals treat herniated discs

To understand how epidurals work, we start by understanding the anatomy of your spine and why herniated discs can be so painful.

Your spine consists of vertebral bones with spinal discs between them. The bones and disease protect your spinal cord, which is a thick bundle of nerves that runs the length of your spine.

When you have a herniated disc, the broken disc causes inflammation and squeezes nerves in your spinal cord. The compression can cause pain, weakness, numbness, or tingling in your back, arms, or legs, depending on the location of your herniated disc.

Epidurals are spinal injections that contain a local anesthetic and a stronger steroid medication to stop this nerve pain. The anesthetic temporarily numbs the area, the steroid reduces inflammation over the course of a few days, and the effects generally last for several months.

Getting an epidural injection doesn’t heal a herniated disc, but it can be an effective way to reduce inflammation and pain from the injury. In one study, 70-90% of people who got epidurals for lower back pain experienced pain relief that lasted up to one year.

Since epidurals are minimally invasive, they have a low risk of side effects. Many people are good candidates for a series of epidural shots for more continuous pain relief, so ask our team about your options.

What to expect when you get an epidural for back pain

If conservative herniated disc treatment has left you with pain and other bothersome symptoms, you might be a good candidate for epidural injections. Our spine specialists can help you decide by reviewing your symptoms and the treatments you’ve already tried.

We do epidural injections in the office, and there’s usually nothing special you need to do to prepare. The procedure takes just a few minutes from start to finish, and you can expect to notice pain relief almost immediately. 

You lie down on a table, and we identify the location along your spine where we’ll make the injection. Then, we administer the epidural and monitor you for a few minutes before you’re free to return to your day.

The steroid begins to take effect within a few days, and you should notice significant improvement in your symptoms. If you’re happy with your results, talk to our team about getting a series of injections to manage your herniated disc pain more effectively.

An epidural injection could be the solution to your herniated disc pain. Book a consultation with our orthopedic team online, or call our offices in Astoria, Brooklyn, or Manhattan, New York, to schedule your appointment today.

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