It’s Time For Your Shot
If a doctor recommends a caudal injection, a patient may have severe lower back pain. Lower back pain is a common condition and doctors expect most people to have pain at some point. Chronic back pain, however, can impact the quality of life. To treat the pain, a doctor may inject a combination of steroids and anesthetic in the epidural space. This process can serve as an effective nerve block for pain relief.
What’s behind your lower back pain?
The back and spine are a complex network of bones, nerves, muscle, and intervertebral discs. The nerves from the spinal cord branch out through small holes and epidural space. Due to wear and tear, herniated discs, arthritis, or bone spurs. The reduced space presses on nearby nerves, causing lower back pain. The back pain can graduate to symptoms like sciatica, affecting the buttocks, legs, and feet.
Turning to caudal injections
If someone has chronic back pain, a doctor can provide a range of non-surgical techniques to help. Physical therapy and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs can help. Over time, however, these may not be enough. Caudal injections are non-invasive procedures to provide more medication to the problem area. The injections go to the caudal region near the tailbone and often in the epidural space near the dura.
How caudal injections can help
Most caudal injections contain a combination of steroid and anesthetic medication. The anesthetic provides a numbing sensation for a specific period. The anesthetic also gives the steroid time to work in the body. Steroids are a series of synthetic hormones, some of which resembles cortisol. The drug works by reducing inflammation through slowing down particular inhibitors in the body. The immune system can no longer attack that problem area, making steroids effective for longer pain relief. Both components also help block the nerves from sending pain signals to the brain.
What to expect during the procedure
The caudal injection is a quick, minimally invasive routine performed by doctors, anesthetists, or radiologists. The patient will lie face down on an x-ray table. The medical professional will sterilize a portion of the lower back and may provide a local anesthetic. Using a guided x-ray called fluoroscopy, a needle goes to the caudal region. A combination of steroid and anesthetic is injected near the nerve root. Once the procedure ends, the patient can leave a short time after.
Is it effective?
Caudal injections are an effective method of pain relief. Some patients feel as much as 50% pain reduction a few hours after the procedure. There are cases where a doctor may request a second injection if the pain relief is inadequate. Caudal injections provide pain relief for several months and can help with physical therapy treatment. On average, 80% of patients who opt for steroid injections are satisfied with the results. If lower back, leg, and feet pain are impacting the quality of life, caudal injections may be the solution.