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Pain Treatments

Lumbar Intradiscal Injection

Lumbar Intradiscal Injection

The intervertebral disc between the vertebrae is important as a shock absorber for the spine. The disc can be damaged as a result of wear and tear over the course of time.  A lumbar intradiscal injection may help reduce back, and buttock pain as a result of damage to the discs in the low back.

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

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

The medicine then spreads into the disc space, thereby hopefully reducing inflammation and pain. Usually, the procedure takes less than 45 minutes and you can go home the same day.

Some patients report pain relief within the first few hours after the injection due to the pain medications that are given with the anesthesia, but pain may return later that day as the pain medication 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 or bone marrow 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 intradiscal injection is low. Rarely, complications include bleeding or infection in the disc or at the injection site or possibly a headache if the sac surrounding the spinal canal is punctured, which is unusual for this procedure. 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. No weight lifting, running, or heavy sports activities for the first week after the procedure. 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 or bone marrow 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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