Can Epidural Steroid Injections Prevent Surgery?

Say no to sciatica…

The most common non-surgical approach to manage patients suffering from low back pain with sciatica is epidural steroid injections. It’s difficult to answer for how long the effect of these steroid injections will last? & can these epidural steroid injections prevent spine surgery?

Epidural steroid injections help reduce inflammation around your spinal nerves thus giving immediate pain relief. Epidural steroid injections given for sciatica when coupled with therapeutic exercise may allow patients to postpone or even avoid surgery altogether.

Disc bulge or disc prolapse causes sciatica and/or radiculopathy. The spinal nerve root in your lower back is pinched or compressed, sending pain and other neurological symptoms down the buttock and thigh, into your leg or foot.

Epidural injections may be used to treat sciatica caused by the following common lower back conditions:

  • Herniated Disc: When the inner soft contents of a disc push through the outer layers.
  • Degenerated Disc: When a disc loses fluid and shrinks, reducing in height.
  • Foraminal canal stenosis: When the bony openings for spinal nerve roots become narrow, causing compression.
  • Spondylolisthesis: When a vertebra slips over the one below it.

The outcome of your epidural steroid injection may depend on one or more of the following factors:

  • If leg pain is more than back pain: These injections are typically more effective in treating lower back pain with leg pain versus lower back pain alone. 
  • The transforaminal epidural route is better than the interlaminar route: Epidural injections can be administered in several ways. The goal is to reach the epidural space that surrounds the spinal cord. Research indicates that the transforaminal route, where the needle is inserted through the intervertebral foramen on the side of the spinal canal may target the nerve roots more specifically than the interlaminar or caudal route.
  • Choice of steroid: The steroids used for epidural injections may be water-soluble (non-particulate) or poorly soluble (particulate) steroids. The poorly soluble steroids usually have a longer-term effect.
  • Addition of anesthetics to the steroid: Some injection preparations may contain local anesthetics, which act faster than steroids and help reduce pain signals from inflamed nerves.

You may have improved pain and functional outcomes when you combine your epidural steroid injection treatment with a comprehensive rehabilitation program. Ideally, this combination utilizes the anti-inflammatory effect of the epidural steroid injection to reduce the symptoms, which in turn allows for better progress in the rehabilitation program and consequent long-term improvement.

For further queries about diagnosis and treatment visit for more details.

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2 thoughts on “Can Epidural Steroid Injections Prevent Surgery?”

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