When you have low back pain, you may have to sit out on many of the things that you love. Not only does low back pain affect your work, but it can also affect your mental health when you can’t seem to find relief. But there’s hope to ease your pain with spinal injections.
At Southern Pain Specialists, our goal is to help you not only ease the pain, but get you back to your busy life as well. Dr. Kenneth Varley is our in-house pain management specialist. He offers many types of treatments for your low back pain, including different types of injections.
What causes low back pain?
When low back pain strikes, you may wonder what brought it on. Sometimes, you can pinpoint a specific injury; other times, it seems to pop up without any reason at all.
Injuries to the muscle in your back are a common cause of low back pain. However, degenerative conditions can affect the other structures in your spine as well, including:
- Spinal stenosis
- Degenerative disc disease
- Herniated disc
- Sprains or strains
Each of these conditions exhibits its own type of symptoms. For example, arthritis in your spine may cause constant aching or dull pain, whereas a herniated disc may lead to sharp, intense pain and weakness.
Muscle sprains or strains can be acute, meaning they come on suddenly and then ease up within a few days. However, if your pain doesn’t seem to get better with rest or over-the-counter medications, you may need to seek treatment.
Injections that can help
When you come in with low back pain, Dr. Varley’s first order of business is to assess your symptoms and find out what’s causing the pain. Dr. Varley performs a physical exam of your back and spine and imaging studies as well.
Once he has a picture of what’s causing the pain in your low back, he can formulate a treatment plan. If you have mild to moderate pain from a non-emergent condition, Dr. Varley can recommend several conservative treatments, such as physical therapy or medications.
However, if your pain continues after trying conservative treatments, Dr. Varley may suggest spinal injections, which are a great option when you want less pain but don’t want to have surgery.
Dr. Varley offers several types of spinal injections, depending on what condition is causing your pain.
Epidural steroid injections
If your pain is due to a pinched nerve in your back, an epidural steroid injection can help. Dr. Varley uses X-ray imaging to guide the injection of an anesthetic medication containing a steroid into the area of your pinched nerve. This helps lessen pain by decreasing inflammation.
Facet joint injections
If you have arthritis in your spine or another degenerative condition, Dr. Varley uses facet joint injections to ease your pain. The facet joints are found between your vertebrae, and they can cause pain in your low back and other areas as well.
Dr. Varley can use facet joint injections as a diagnostic tool using anesthetic medications. If that helps your pain, he then injects steroids into the same area to help ease inflammation and relieve your pain.
Sacroiliac joint injections
This type of spinal injection is very similar to facet joint injections, except that it’s done in your SI joint, found between your pelvic bones and sacrum. Problems with your SI joints may lead to pain in your lower back and your legs.
Just as with facet joint injections, Dr. Varley uses this as a diagnostic tool to determine if an anesthetic medicine relieves your pain. If it does, he injects a steroid into the joints to provide a longer period of relief.
In many cases, joint injections not only relieve your pain, but they also keep you from having to go under more invasive procedures like surgery.