If you suffer from lumbar spinal stenosis, you are probably familiar with the pain that radiates down your legs. This pain can make it difficult to walk and even harder to just stand still. Stenosis is what happens when an enlarged facet joint or a bone spur compresses a spinal nerve or nerves. The pressure on the nerve sends pain signals to the leg or the part of your body that this particular nerve operates.
Some patients with spinal stenosis who visit us at the Spine Institute Northwest in Bothell, WA, are able to deal with their pain using conservative treatments such as exercise, behavior modifications, massage, and other techniques. Other people, though, end up requiring a stronger type of intervention so they can get on with their lives without constant pain interfering.
Lumbar spinal stenosis causes pain on the lower portion of the back. It can also cause leg cramps and pain when standing for long periods of time. Certain bending movements or sitting down may decrease your pain, but not for long.
Epidural Steroid Injections
Although these types of injections are minimally invasive, they are considered to be a conservative therapy for managing stenosis pain. A physician may inject a corticosteroid, which is an anti-inflammatory medication, into your disc area along with a local anesthetic. This combination injection can reduce pain and inflammation at the area where the nerves are being compressed. This solution may just be short-term for some patients, perhaps just a few weeks in time.
A study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2014 found no significant difference in self-reported pain relief between patients getting this injection combining steroids with pain relievers and others who were just injected with a pain medication alone. An epidural injection can be used to help diagnose issues in addition to relieving pain in the short-term. A physician like Dr. Solomon Kamson, MD, PhD, at the Spine Institute Northwest, will administer the epidural steroid injection guided by fluoroscopy based on your MRI imaging. If the patient’s pain is relieved, even if for less than a month, the prognosis may be good if minimally invasive surgery is chosen to relieve the nerve pressure.
If you are experiencing symptoms associated with spinal stenosis and lumbar pain, you may wish to find out whether an epidural injection is right for you, or if a minimally invasive surgical procedure, such as an endoscopically guided spinal decompression, is a good option. Contact Dr. Kamson at the Spine Institute today to make an appointment for your consultation by calling one of our patient advocates at (208) 496-0630.