The goal with an epidural injection plan, whether it is single or multi-level, is to reduce inflammation of the nerve roots.
Finding the right solution for pain management is a complex process that sometimes requires getting to the root of the problem, which means treating the pain at the spinal level. Dr. Justin Lo, in San Jose, California, specializes in unique methodologies for pain management like single and multilayer epidural injections. Epidural simply means an injection into a part of the spine to provide pain relief right at the source.
What is an epidural injection?
An epidural injection means Dr. Lo injects medicine into the epidural space of the spine. The spine consists of bone called vertebrae and a protective sheath called dura mater. Inside this protective coating is the spinal cord – a thin bundle of nerves that work with the brain to make up the central nervous system.
Lying between the vertebrae and the dura mater is an area called the epidural space. It contains different types of tissue including spinal nerve roots, fat, and small arteries. By injecting anti-inflammatory medicine into that space, Dr. Lo provides pain relief allowing injuries to heal better.
Why do an epidural injection?
The goal with an epidural injection plan, whether it is single or multi-level, is to reduce inflammation of the nerve roots. Inflammation is a fancy way of saying swelling. Typically when tissue swells, it has trouble healing properly. That's true whether you are talking about a torn muscle, an arthritic joint, or a spinal nerve root. Inflammation generally means pain, too.
By injecting anti-inflammatory medicine directly into the epidural space, Dr. Lo decreases inflammation allowing for better healing and pain reduction.
What does single and multi-level mean?
The spinal column is a bit like a ladder. The different pieces of bone stack one on top of the other to create a column that houses the spinal cord. A single epidural injection means just one injection somewhere along that column. A multi-level procedure requires a number of injections at key areas up and down the back.
What conditions might require an epidural injection?
Injections like these typically are associated with back or neck pain, but they might serve a variety of pain concerns. Dr. Lo evaluates each patient to determine the best pain management solution. He decides when an epidural injection offers the best hope for each situation. Generally speaking though, they are used most often to relieve long-term back pain after more conventional pain management techniques fail.
How long does an epidural injection last?
Length of pain relief varies by patient and condition. For some people, an epidural injection provides permanent relief because the injury heals once the inflammation subsides. The more common scenario, though, is the patient gets anywhere from several days to a couple of months of pain relief.