Spinal injections are a procedure where a medication, typically used to reduce pain, is injected directly into the spine. Usually, the name of the area of the spine where the injection is to occur is included in the name of the shot. Cervical epidural steroid injection or lumbar epidural steroid injection are examples.
What are the different types of spinal injections?
The spinal injections are diverse in their method and treatment. Some of the more commonly administered injections include:
Epidural injections - used to treat pain and inflammation. Epidural injections involve injecting an anesthetic and an anti-inflammatory medication, such as a steroid, near the affected nerve. This reduces the inflammation and lessens or resolves the pain.
Facet Joint Injections - used to treat neck, middle back, or low back pain as well as when pain radiates into the shoulders, buttocks, or upper legs. Facet joints can be injected in two ways- directly into the joint or anesthetizing the nerves carrying the pain signals away from the joint.
Sacroiliac Joint Injections – an injection done directly in the pelvis. A therapeutic injection will typically include a steroid medication, with the goal of providing longer-lasting pain relief.
Provocation Discography - Provocation discography does not provide pain relief and is done only for the diagnosis of pain. It involves stimulating and "pressurizing" an intervertebral disc by injecting a liquid into the jelly-like center of the disc.
Do I need to stay in the hospital following a spinal injection?
Usually, there is no hospital stay at all with spinal injections. These are almost always done as an outpatient procedure and most are given at a pain center or in a well-equipped doctor's office. An epidural injection requires the use of a fluoroscope, which is a weaker form of X-ray that is used to show the needle's position. It is important that the steroid injection is placed exactly so that it does not cause other problems. Patients are usually discharged home with minimal requirements. Recovery takes about 24 hours and the injections may last 6 weeks or more.