Living with chronic pain is physically and emotionally taxing. It's difficult to live with a problem that seems like it has no solution. Fortunately, there is one solution that's providing some relief to chronic pain sufferers: interventional injection. These injections are administered by a doctor in order to treat the source of pain and provide relief to chronic pain sufferers. Here are four types of common interventional injections and their uses.
Epidural Steroid Injection
Instead of attempting to treat pain orally or intravenously, an epidural steroid injection goes right to the source of pain. This procedure is minimally invasive and involves injecting corticosteroids, an anti-inflammatory medication, directly to the spinal nerves. The injection is administered in the epidural space, a fatty area between the spine bone and protective sac of the spinal nerves. Pain in this area can affect your back, neck, arm, and legs and so the epidural steroid injection can be useful in treating pain in all of those areas.
Medial Branch Block
This injection is used primarily as a diagnostic tool. The procedure involves injecting anesthetic near the small medial nerves connected to a specific facet joint. These joints connect the spine vertebrae together at the back of the spinal canal. These joints are responsible for guiding motion in the lower back. If the injection results in immediate pain relief, the doctor knows that this area is the source of the patient's pain and other procedures can be considered.
Occipital Nerve Blocks
People with chronic migraine headaches can experience relief through an occipital nerve block injection. This procedure involves injecting an anti-inflammatory corticosteroid or another anesthetic into the back of the head near the greater and lesser occipital nerves. These are major nerves that run from the top of the spinal cord up to the scalp. The procedure may be initially painful but can provide longer relief.
Selective Nerve Root Block
This procedure is used to both diagnose and treat inflammation in the spinal nerve. An anesthetic or anesthetic and steroid combination is administered near the spinal nerve at the bony opening between vertebrae called the invertebral foramen. A contrast dye may be administered first to ensure the injection site is at the nerve and not into the blood vessels. Doctors typically use ultrasound or fluoroscopy imaging to find the nerve site. Patients who have undergone this treatment typically experience 2-4 months of pain relief.
For more information on interventional injections services, contact a local clinic such as Joel D Stein DO PA.