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Pain Treatments

Lumbar Epidural Injection

Lumbar Epidural Injection

A transforaminal epidural injection is an injection given to the low back (lumbar spine). A lumbar transforaminal epidural injection may help reduce back, buttock, hip, and pain as a result of damage to the discs in the low back or arthritis.

The doctor will numb your low back with medication back. Then, guided by an x-ray, he will:

  • Insert a thin needle into your low back and look at the placement under x-ray
  • Inject dye to confirm that medication is administered into the correct space
  • Inject a steroid (for longer term relief) or platelet rich plasma

The medicine then spreads in the epidural space, thereby hopefully reducing nerve inflammation and pain. Usually, the procedure takes less than 15 minutes and you can go home the same day.

Some patients report pain relief within the first few hours after the injection, but pain may return later that day as the local anesthetic wears off. Longer-term relief usually begins in 48-72 hours, once the steroid begins to work or 6-8 weeks if platelet rich plasma is used.

How long the pain relief lasts varies person to person. For some, the relief lasts several months or longer. If the treatment works for you, you can have periodic injections to stay pain-free.

The risk of a complication from lumbar transforaminal injection is very low. Rarely, complications include bleeding or infection at the injection site or possibly a headache if the sac surrounding the spinal canal is punctured, which is unusual in a lumbar epidural injection. Most of the time, these effects resolve within a few hours.

Do not do any rigorous activity for the first day after your injection. Take it easy. You can return to your normal activities the next day. Do not drive the day of the injection if you have had any form of anesthesia.

You can continue your regular diet and medications immediately.

In some cases, it may take up to a week for the steroid to begin working. If you don’t feel better within the first two weeks, see your doctor to discuss different treatment options. If platelet rich plasma is used, please allow for 6-8 weeks to see if the injection works.

Not sure what treatment options are best for you?  Contact us today to see how we can help you.

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