The complexities of your spine
The spine is at risk for various conditions due to wear and tear sedentary lifestyles, or excessive physical activity. Most cases are due to herniated discs, where the nucleus of intervertebral discs slips out of place. Discs can also degenerate over time, mainly due to excess wear and tear. Other painful conditions include arthritis and spinal stenosis. These conditions and more can press on surrounding nerves, causing chronic nerve pain, weakness in limbs, and inflammation. Simple non-surgical treatments are effective, and these include spine injections.
Do you need spine injections?
Spinal injections refer to an injection of anesthesia, steroid, or both near the spine. Depending on the circumstance, the injection can land in either the epidural space of facet joints. Both are minimally invasive techniques, meaning no incisions and a quick recovery time. To complete the injections, the doctor may also need fluoroscopy. This process uses a contact dye to help see the spine via x-ray. The injections also have the same goal, to help with pain management. However, both injections impact different sources of pain.
A helpful solution for back pain
There are 2 facet joints in each vertebra. These bones absorb load, provide support, and allow movement in the neck and back. Unfortunately, facet joints can become painful due to wear and tear or degenerative diseases. Facet joint infections have 2 goals and s a combination of steroid and anesthetic medication. The main goal is to provide long-term relief by injecting the drug into the facet joints. As a side effect, the injection can confirm an underlying issue with the spine. From there, the doctor can suggest other means of treatment. Facet joint injections are helpful for arthritis and degenerative disc disease and can last for several months.
Filling the space with medicine
A spinal epidural injection (ESI) is the most common spinal injection. ESIs specifically help with the pain caused by sciatica. Sciatica happens when an element of the spine presses on the sciatic nerve. The pain can radiate down the buttock, thigh, and lower leg. ESis occur in the epidural space between the spine and bones. The medication explicitly treats the inflammation that's causing sciatica.
So, what's the difference?
Facet and Epidural injections are both minimally invasive treatments for chronic back pain. However, facet joint injections can have a longer-lasting effect. Epidural injections are more suited to short-term therapy or in conjunction with other treatment methods. Both provide numbing effects and help reduce inflammation in the affected part of the spine. Facet is more suited to back pain that involves aches in your lower back. In comparison, Epidural Injections are best suited to back panic conditions, like sciatica. Speak to a spinal specialist or pain management specials for more advice and the proper injection.