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When an Epidural is the Best Choice for Chronic Back Pain

Chronic back pain not only hurts you physically; it has a financial toll. It’s the reason for the majority of work disability claims in the U.S.

You’re more prone to musculoskeletal pain as you age, simply because of normal wear and tear and the accumulation of injuries to your joints during your lifetime. The majority of adults over 65 have some type of musculoskeletal pain, with many suffering from chronic back pain. Younger adults can also suffer from chronic back pain due to car or work-related accidents and sports injuries.

Chronic pain can take a huge emotional toll on your mental health. The pain can raise anxiety and stress levels. Stress causes your body to tense up, which can cause more pain. About a third of those with chronic back pain are diagnosed with depression. That’s not too surprising, given that chronic pain often forces you to give up activities you love.

At Apollo Pain Management, it is our mission to reduce your pain and improve your quality of life. We focus on finding and treating the cause of your chronic back pain--not just the symptoms. Depending on your diagnosis, the Apollo Pain Management staff usually focuses first on conservative treatments (such as physical therapy, non-inflammatory medicine, epidural spinal injections, or nerve blocks), before recommending surgery. Alternative treatments such as yoga, meditation/mindfulness, and acupuncture can also help some patients.

If physical therapy, non-inflammatory medication, exercises such as yoga, and alternative treatments don’t work to relieve your chronic back pain, you may be a candidate for an epidural spinal injection.

Conditions when an epidural injection may be used

At Apollo Pain Management, we recommend an epidural injection in cases where severe pain radiates through your back and into your arm or leg. You may also experience numbness or weakness in the limb. This pain is a result of damage to a spinal nerve root, whether it’s inflammation or compression of the nerve. It’s called radicular pain because it’s radiating from a nerve to other points in your body. The nerve channels that run from your back to your arm or leg, become too narrow, inflaming the nerves.

Common types of radicular pain can arise from the following conditions:

An epidural injection is not a cure for your pain; it’s a tool that provides a short-term respite for many patients. The injection contains a steroid that reduces inflammation and helps relieve the pain by opening up the spinal passages and relieving pressure on the nerves.

An epidural injection is an in-office procedure that takes only about 15 minutes. You should begin to feel relief anywhere from two to five days, post injection. Many patients experience at least three months of relief after the shot.

Epidurals enable you to continue enjoying daily activities while planning a longer-term solution. They’re helpful in cases where you may have a vacation planned or have a wedding coming up. The shot allows you to keep the plans you’ve made while discussing a more permanent plan with our team.

Call Apollo Pain Management for compassionate, expert treatment of chronic pain.

Still me R James Warren, MD MS Me

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