Epidural Block for Back Pain
In the most severe lumbar disc problems, surgical intervention may be necessary to remove pressure from the spinal nerves. In many cases, however, nerve blocks such as an epidural may be effective in treating back and leg pain associated with lumbar disc disease. In fact, some patients who have required surgery in the past are now being treated with epidural injections.
What is an epidural block?
An epidural block is an injection of the anti-inflammatory drug Methyl Prednisolone, into a small area in the back known as the epidural space. It is an office procedure, which is performed under local anesthesia, usually taking less than ten minutes.
Why is an epidural block given?
An epidural block is usually performed to treat back pain, particular when the pain extends or radiates into one or both legs. This type of pain is frequently caused by damage or injury to one of the discs (herniated disc) in the low back. Sometimes an epidural-block can benefit patients with degenerative arthritis of the spine, particularly when this arthritis causes a narrowing of the spinal canal. (spinal stenosis)
What can I expect if I need an epidural block?
Most patients are a little apprehensive if they have never had this problem. Your pain management specialist will clearly explain the procedure before beginning and will answer all of your questions. In skilled hands the procedure is extremely safe. However, your doctor will discuss the potential risks and benefits of the epidural block ahead of time. In this way, you will understand what you can expect from the procedure. Most patients find the procedure surprisingly easy and comfortable.
Which specialist are qualified to give an epidural block?
A Board-certified Anesthesiologist is most qualified to perform an epidural block.If you are experiencing chronic back or leg pain, you should consult your family physician. He or she can effectively evaluate your pain and determine the best way to treat it. When appropriate, epidural blocks are an important and valuable method for treating low back pain.
IN THE KNOW
The American Cancer Society recently revealed that death rates from gastrointestinal cancers were reduced by 40 percent in men and women who consumed an average of 16 or more aspirin tablets per month than those who did not. (Colon cancer leads to over 80,000 deaths per year in the United States.)