The epidural space of the spine is the space around the sac that contains the spinal cord. An injection into this space is a direct dosage of an anesthetic and an anti-inflammatory agent (cortisone) into an area of the spine experiencing painful symptoms. Typically as the result of a herniated disc, degenerative disc disease, or spinal stenosis.
While this injection with a Los Angeles pain management doctor alone may provide pain relief in patients, it is not always the only procedure performed. In many cases, an epidural injection is often only the first step taken in the search for relief, usually followed by rehabilitation once the epidural has taken effect.
The Injection Process
With the patient placed prone on an X-ray table, the injection site will be numbed with local anesthetic. Once this area has been prepared for the injection, a technique called fluoroscopy will be used to accurately guide the needle into the patient. This technique uses a series of rapid X-ray images that, when layered together, create a real-time picture of what is occurring within the patient. The injection must occur in the area lying between the surface of the vertebrae and the outer covering of the spinal cord, so the accuracy of the injection needle is paramount.
Following the injection at a pain clinic in Los Angeles, the patient will be monitored for, on average, 15 to 20 minutes to ensure there is no negative reaction to the compounds injected. Patients will be asked to rest the remainder of the day, and will typically be clear to return to normal daily activities on the following day.
The process is often not uncomfortable, but sedation is available upon request for those who desire it. It is worth nothing that those patients who opt for sedation will have a longer recovery time and will be monitored slightly longer following the injection.
Epidural injections are able to provide pain relief in approximately 75% of the patients treated. While it is true some patients do not benefit from this procedure, those who do obtain relief will be able to extend the relief duration with repeat injections. Injections can be performed two to four weeks apart as needed for a series of 3, and can last up to 3 months for some patients.
Risks of the Injection
Since this is an injection into the body, there is the always present small risk of an infection, bleeding, or swelling at the injection site. Some patients may also experience an allergic reaction to the medications used, but this is often negated by the monitoring performed on the patient following the injection.
California Pain Network connects those in pain with pain management clinics throughout southern California including Los Angeles, Orange County, Southern California, Inland Empire and more. Call (310) 626-1526 for more information and scheduling today!