Patients who need temporary relief from degenerative discs to nerve pain may consider spinal injections as part of their treatment. These injections cannot cure issues but can provide temporary relief from pain.
Princeton Orthopaedic Associates offers several spinal injection services to treat back and nerve pain in patients in addition to diagnosing nerve and back issues.
Spinal injections may sound intimidating, but rest assured, your comfort is foremost on our minds. We start with a local anesthetic at the injection site to make the actual injection much easier. We then give the injection directly into the area affected to eliminate your pain at the source.
We perform these injections using imaging guidance, such as from an x-ray or MRI. This ensures our precision. The steroid injection usually takes about 4-6 hours to take effect, but it will last several weeks.
Patients may feel pain at the injection site for a couple of days afterward, but that will subside. There may also be tenderness and swelling at the site, but it should also subside in a couple of days.
Epidural steroid injections are a standard treatment for lower back and leg pain. They provide temporary relief for patients with everything from lumbar disc herniation to lumbar spinal stenosis to degenerative discs. Steroid injections can also be used in the cervical spine (neck) and thoracic spine (mid-back).
The injections use cortisone and local anesthetic or saline solutions to flush particles from the area, causing swelling and pain and reducing inflammation. Depending on the patient’s condition, an injection can provide relief from a week to up to a year.
A facet injection is another treatment used to relieve back pain caused by inflamed facet joints. This minimally invasive treatment is used on patients with spinal stenosis, sciatica, or arthritis. It’s often characterized by neck, arm, lower back, or leg pain. The pain comes from the facet joints, four points on the vertebra (backbone) connecting it to the vertebrae above it.
Facet injections can be used for diagnostic purposes but are most often used for pain relief. The injections include a long-lasting steroid and a local anesthetic. The injection goes into the joint or the surrounding tissue, and it can last anywhere from a few days to a couple of years. The treatment can be repeated up to three times a year for patients who have successful short-term relief.
Nerve blocks are used both as a treatment tool and as a diagnostic tool. It is used for patients experiencing severe back or leg pain.
The procedure for a nerve block is to inject alcohol, phenol, or a similar substance into or around the nerve to numb it. This stops the pain signals from getting to the brain and provides pain relief that can last from 6-12 months. This can be repeated as needed.
We can also use nerve blocks to diagnose the source of chronic pain in a patient. An anesthetic is injected for a certain amount of time, giving the doctor time to trace the patient’s regular pain source.