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Epidural Steroid Injections in Chicago

Pain management should always begin conservatively. However, when medications and physical therapy alone are unable to resolve the issue, epidural steroid injections (ESI) might be the next step. ESI is a minimally invasive procedure that addresses pain caused by inflamed spinal nerves, typically due to spinal stenosis or disc herniation. With it, medications are injected into the area between the bone and spinal nerve sac, helping to reduce or eliminate neck, arm, back, and leg pain.

Steroids Used in ESI

The epidural steroid injection procedure can use different types of steroids to help manage pain. Typically, it centers on a corticosteroid such as triamcinolone, methyl-prednisolone, or dexamethasone. This is accompanied by a numbing agent to help keep the patient comfortable and as pain free as possible until the injection is complete.
The injection is placed into the epidural area of the spine. It is a fat-filled space between the vertebra and dura sac. The steroids work by getting rid of the proteins that trigger swelling in this area. The disadvantage here is that it doesn’t resolve the underlying issues causing pain. However, it can make it easier to then treat issues like herniated discs.

Conditions ESI Can Manage

Getting an epidural injection for back pain doesn’t work for all chronic pain conditions. If you have pain in the neck, arms, lower back, or legs, you might be a candidate. The following conditions are the ones that are typically best addressed with ESI therapy.

After ESI Therapy

Expect to be able to get up and walk around directly after the procedure. You will be monitored for a few hours and if everything is well, you will go home. You should have someone drive you since leg weakness or numbness can be present for a short period after these injections.

You should keep a journal documenting how you are experiencing pain after ESI therapy as well as any weakness or numbness you experience. This can help your doctor evaluate the effectiveness of treatment. You will need a follow-up appointment to go over this.

Most people find that their relief lasts several months. However, some only feel better for a few weeks, while in rare cases, ESI can offer relief that lasts years. It is essential that you do not rely on ESI alone but in conjunction with other therapies as well.

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