Don’t Leave Your Lower Back Pain Unaddressed
At some point in time, the average American will suffer from back pain. Lower back pain is particularly concerning, with 1 in 4 complaining about the condition. Lower back pain can become chronic without treatment, causing stiffness and weakness. In some cases, the pain can move to the legs and feet. If the pain impacts the quality of life, transforaminal injections are an available option.
What’s causing your lower back pain?
Acute lower back pain happens due to strains and sprains. Chronic, long-term pain occurs due to a condition with the spine. The spine consists of bones called vertebrae with fibrous discs separating each pair. Due to wear and tear or conditions like arthritis, these discs can degrade over time. Damaged discs slip out of place, pressing on nearby nerves. The changes in the spine can also reduce the space for nerves, called spinal stenosis. These conditions cause pain, stiffness and can lead to muscle weakness.
Moving to the legs and feet
Lower back pain can often lead to a symptom called sciatica. The herniated disc or reduced space in the spinal cord can press on the sciatic nerve. The sciatic nerve is the biggest in the body, running down each leg. Patients with sciatica can experience severe nerve pain in the buttocks, thighs, lower legs, and feet. For lower back pain and sciatica, non-surgical options like painkillers or physical therapy can help. However, if these fail, a doctor may recommend an epidural injection.
How transforaminal injections help
A transforaminal injection is a simple, outpatient procedure for lower back and leg pain. The doctor, anesthetist, or radiologist will inject a steroid medication and anesthetic near the inflamed nerves. The patient will lay face down on an x-ray table. The medical personnel will prepare the lower back with a local anesthetic. Then, using fluoroscopy, a needle is guided to the epidural space to inject the medication. The procedure takes less than 30 minutes, and the patient can leave the same day.
The results speak for themselves
After the injection, the patient will feel relief within a few hours. Once the steroid takes effect, the injection can last for several months. Transforaminal injections have a secondary purpose. The procedure can confirm if there is a severe back issue and if further intervention is necessary. The results depend on the medication used, type of condition, and degree of pain. On average, 80% of patients feel at least 50% improvement.
Take care of your lower back
Lower back, leg, and feet pain can impact work, social life, and even mental health. Some back pain sufferers ignore the issue, believing the pain to be part of life. However, if left untreated, the condition can worsen, needing surgical intervention. An injection of medicine in the epidural space is a great way to provide long-term relief.