Dr. Colin Booth, MD , a spine medicine physician at Tennessee Orthopaedic Clinics, explains who is a good candidate for spinal injections?
Who is a good candidate for spinal injections?
So typically patients that undergo injections are ones that have been dealing with back or leg pain, neck or arm pain for at least six to eight weeks. They’ve tried physical therapy, anti-inflammatories, a lot of conservative measures, and they’re still having bothersome issues.
How does it work?
We’ll work them up with an MRI or CT scan. If there’s area of neurological impingement, we can typically target that with injections using steroid and numbing medicine with the x-ray machine to inject medicine around those areas to see if we can calm down the irritation the nerves are feeling to give them relief of their pain.
How long does it last?
It’s hard to give people an exact number of how long it’s going to last. Typically, patients that are going to get long-lasting relief, it takes one to two injections. They can last months to even years. Patients that aren’t going to show great results will maybe get some relief for a few hours to a couple of days and the pain comes back. Typically, after a set of three injections, if they’re not getting better and it is a surgical issue, we’ll tend to talk about surgical options at that time.
Will it help reduce pain?
Typically, a majority of the patients will get some relief for an extended period of time. Most of the patients that do better with injections are patients with spinal stenosis. They can get sometimes years of relief. Recent studies shown that patients undergoing injections for spinal stenosis can typically stave off surgery for about a year or two. Disc herniations don’t typically tend to respond as well, but some patients do get good relief for at least a couple months.