Types of Injections for Back Pain

Types of Injections for Back Pain

At some point in your life, you will most likely experience back pain. Our sedentary lifestyles and “text neck” have left many with aches and pains in the back and neck. Since back pain is so common, what can be done about it? Our back pain specialists recommend starting with physical therapy and anti-inflammatories, but when those treatments fail, injections may be your next best option. Luckily for those who suffer from back pain, there are many kinds of injections depending on your injury or condition!


Types of Back Pain Injections

Back pain is a broad symptom and can be hard to pinpoint depending on the injury or condition. Each injection is used for different conditions and can also help your orthopedic doctor see what is causing you pain.

Epidural Injections

Low back pain and sciatica are two of the most common injuries we see. An epidural steroid injection is a great first step to see if the pain will subside and offer some relief to patients. The injection helps reduce inflammation around the nerve roots, improves mobility, and helps the legs function better during physical therapy.

What Back Conditions Can Be Treated with Steroid Injections?

Selective Nerve Root Block

A selective nerve root block helps orthopedic doctors diagnose and treat an inflamed spinal nerve. This injection typically contains an anesthetic and steroid. It is placed near the spinal nerve to slow the pain signals in the nerve, thus reducing the pain felt by the patient.

Injection Administration

Your doctor may use an ultrasound to locate the nerve due to each patient’s variations of anatomy. The injection site will be sterilized to reduce the risk of infection and the shot will be administered.

Recovery Time

Recovery from a nerve root block is minimal. The first couple of hours after the injection some patients may have muscle weakness, but this will fade away with time. If you have concerns about your muscle’s weakness lasting longer than a few hours, talk with your doctor.  The injection starts to work within two to three days with peak performance around 2 weeks.


Facet Joint Injection

This injection is administered in the facet joint, which is the joint on both sides of the spine. As with many injections, this back injection is used both as a treatment and as a way of determining the cause of back pain. This injection can help patients with chronic, long-term back pain and often provides immediate relief to the patient.

An ultrasound or CT may be used to help guide the injector. If successful, the injection can provide relief for up to 4 months after receiving the injection. Many patients with degenerative back pain use this option to avoid surgery and receive pain relief.


Stem Cell Therapy Injections

Stem Cell Therapy is a new advancement in orthopedic treatment that many orthopedic doctors are beginning to add to their services. This type of treatment is not yet approved by the FDA and should be used for experimentation.

What are Stem Cells?

Stem cells are a special type of cell that can develop into many kinds of cells. This can range from brain cells to muscle cells as well. They can also develop in order to heal damaged tissue.

How Stem Cells Help Back and Neck Pain

Because of stems cells’ ability to develop into different kinds of cells, doctors believe they can be injected into the body to initiate a healing process. Your doctor will use an ultrasound to gauge where to place the stem cells in hopes the body will begin the healing process of damaged tissues in the back or neck.

After the entire treatment is complete, it could take two to four months to notice the full effects. It takes the body time to heal, but this treatment has seen some success in those with back pain!

This new advancement in medicine is a great option for those looking to avoid surgery and rely on the body’s natural healing process.


How Do I Know What Back Injection is Right for Me?

Injections for back pain can be a great option for those looking for a less invasive treatment. Back injections can be a long process, but once you find what works for you, better days are ahead! You will need to work with an orthopedic doctor specializing in the spine for the best treatment possible. You can see our back pain specialist here and schedule an appointment by calling 615.324.1600.

Cassie Whittaker Cassie is the Communications Coordinator for Elite Sports Medicine + Orthopedics. She has been writing and reviewing medical content since 2020. https://www.linkedin.com/in/cassie-whittaker-802a3b173

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