What to Expect From an Epidural Injection

Nearly no one is safe from back pain. In fact, about 65 million Americans have reported a recent episode of back pain, and another 16 million have experienced chronic back pain that limits their daily activities. 

Although it’s so common and many treatment options are available, back pain still leaves many struggling to find lasting relief from their symptoms. 

If you’re one of them, we understand how frustrating it can be. That’s also why we offer comprehensive treatment options to make sure we find the solution to your back pain. 

Dr. Shachi Patel at Delmarva Pain and Spine Center in Newark, Delaware, specializes in diagnosing and treating back pain. Here, she takes a closer look at epidural injections and lets you know what to expect. 

Understanding epidural injections

When your back pain doesn’t get better with conservative treatments, such as rest, ice, and over-the-counter pain medications, an epidural injection may be the next step. 

In this procedure, Dr. Patel delivers the medication directly to the source of your pain by injecting anti-inflammatory steroids, often in combination with a local anesthetic, into the epidural space of your spine — the fluid-filled area surrounding your spinal cord that protects the nerves. 

Epidural injections can address a long list of back and spinal pain, including:

Epidural injections offer short-term relief. Some of our patients feel immediate relief. Others say it kicks in about one to three days after the injection. The goal is to alleviate your pain long enough for you to engage in physical therapy and other healing treatments that will resolve the underlying problem.

The epidural injection experience

The day of your epidural injection, there’s not much you need to do to prepare, other than relax and anticipate a painless experience. Dr. Patel asks you to fast for a few hours before your appointment. 

She makes sure you’re comfortable and in an optimal position on your stomach or side, then cleans and numbs the injection site. She uses live spinal imaging to guide the needle into precisely the right spot in the epidural space for maximum efficacy. 

You may feel a little pressure when Dr. Patel inserts the needle, but no pain. If you feel nervous about the procedure, we may give you a mild sedative to help you relax and remain perfectly still. Most epidural injections only take about 20-30 minutes. 

After your injection, we keep an eye on you for 15-20 minutes to make sure you’re feeling well and to allow the sedative to wear off. Once you begin to feel the effects of the injection, your relief may last for weeks or months. 

Depending on your pain level and condition, Dr. Patel may recommend a series of injections over the course of a year, but no more than three to four shots annually

If you’re suffering from back pain that won’t respond to conservative treatments, come see Dr. Patel to find out if an epidural injection might be the answer. Call us at 302-355-0900 to schedule an appointment.

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