3 Conditions That Epidural Injections Are Used To Treat

If you think that an epidural is only used when women go into labor, think again. Lumbar epidurals are a type of injection therapy that can help to decrease other types of pain. When it comes to being used as an effective treatment for back pain, an epidural gets injected into the epidural space, which is located on the outside of the membrane that protects the spinal cord. In many cases, back pain is caused by a condition of the spine.

Here are three of those conditions that epidural injections are used to treat.

1. Herniated Disc

In between the vertebrae of the spine are rubber-like discs that work as shock absorbers. Over time, these discs begin to show wear and tear, and eventually part of the disc pushes through its exterior. This condition is called a herniated disc. When this occurs, the surrounding nerves in the spine become irritated, causing inflammation and back pain.

Other symptoms of a herniated disc include pain in the arms and legs and numbness and tingling throughout the body. If left untreated, a herniated disc can make it difficult to perform everyday activities and interfere with work.

2. Spinal Stenosis

The word stenosis means that a certain passage in the body becomes abnormally narrow. When this happens in the spaces within the spine, it results in a condition called spinal stenosis. When the spaces become too narrow, it can cause nerve compression, which adds pressure to the spine. This condition happens slowly over time, and when it happens in the lower back, it's called lumbar stenosis. Cervical stenosis can also occur, which happens in the neck.

Spinal stenosis is usually characterized by certain symptoms, such as tingling, numbness, back pain that comes and goes, and difficulties with balance and coordination. If left untreated, spinal stenosis has been known to cause paralysis.

3. Sciatica

The sciatic nerve, which extends from the lower back to the thighs, is the largest and longest spinal nerve in the human body. When there is radiating pain along this nerve, it's a sign that the sciatic nerve is compressed, resulting in a condition called sciatica. Besides radiating pain, other symptoms of this condition include having pain that worsens with prolonged sitting and experiencing tingling in the leg.

For many who suffer from sciatica, sleep can become problematic, and if the pain is excruciating, it interferes with work and other physical activities. When left untreated, sciatica can cause permanent nerve damage. For more information, contact a company like Allegheny Brain And Spine Surgeons today.