Steroid injections are injectable drugs provided by a doctor to relieve pain. The injection contains a corticosteroid, similar to the cortisol created by the body. Corticosteroids can restrict inflammation, swelling, and pain. In a simple outpatient procedure, a doctor or surgeon injects the steroid at the pain location. Within a few days, the medication takes effect, reducing inflammation and discomfort. Corticosteroids last for 3 months or more. At that point, the doctor may try another shot, but no more than 3 per year.
When should you try steroid injections?
Back pain can hamper the quality of life. If the pain is ongoing for several weeks without relief, steroid shots work best. Steroid injections are also helpful if the pain starts in the lower back and moves down the leg. Called sciatic nerve pain, this can make simple tasks like walking painful. For patients looking to delay surgery, steroid injections help, along with physical therapy.
Are those injections painful?
The idea of a needle can scare people. Of course, with any injection, there is pain at the injection site. However, some factors determine the degree of pain. Pain is determined by the patient's threshold for pain, the size of the needle, and the location of the shot. Larger, wider needles will cause pain and discomfort. These large needles are sometimes necessary to reach the nerve root. In some circumstances, a doctor can add an anesthetic. A topical anesthetic can numb the injection site, reducing pain.
Does it work?
While there are risks with any procedure, many see immense benefits from steroid injections. The success rate can be as high as 87% for some back conditions. The success rate depends on issues like previous steroid shots, method of injection, and type of medication. Speak with a doctor about the effectiveness of the steroid shot.
Steroid injections can provide immediate help
Is back pain severely affecting the quality of life? Consider a steroid injection. There will be some minor pain at the injection site. However, the long-term benefits far outweigh the injection pain. Along with steroid injections, patients can try other non-surgical methods like physical therapy, massage, and chiropractic care. Speak with a doctor about the possibility of a steroid injection.