Steroid injections are a commonly prescribed treatment for numerous orthopaedic ailments, including many spinal disorders. When oral medications and/or physical therapy fail to improve a patient’s spinal condition and/or a patient has severe incapacitating pain, spinal injections can be a very effective treatment option. Depending on the type and location of the spinal problem, a small dose of steroid medicine can be injected under X-ray guidance into the right spot often alleviating the pain and inflammation immediately.
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There are different types of spinal injections. The most commonly prescribed spinal injection is an epidural steroid injection (ESI). Other types of steroid injections include facet joint injections, medial branch blocks, sacroiliac joint injections and impar ganglion blocks. A different type of steroid injection may be prescribed depending on the specific spinal disorder being treated.
Types of steroid injections of the spine
- Epidural Steroid Injection (ESI)
- Translaminar ESI
- Transforaminal ESI
- Caudal ESI
- Selective nerve root block
- Facet Joint Injection
- Medial Branch Blocks
- Nerve radiofrequency ablation
- Sacroiliac (SI) Joint Injection
- Impar ganglion block
- Sympathetic Nerve Blocks
Epidural steroid injections are commonly prescribed for patients with a disc injury or spinal arthritis causing nerve irritation. Lidocaine is often injected to anesthetize the skin so patients experience minimal, if any, pain during the procedure. Then a mixture of corticosteroid, a steroid that reduces inflammation and pain, and a local anesthetic such as lidocaine is then injected. The procedure time is often less than 10 to 15 minutes.
Facet injections and/nerve root blocks are prescribed for patients with severe facet joint arthritis or nerve inflammation. Sacroiliac and impar ganglion blocks are administered for patients with sacroilitis or coccydynia.